RSO Staff Picks: Week 9

Updated: November 1st 2018

Week 8 Results

1. English – 14-0

2. Wendell – 12-2

3. Papson 11-3

Overall Standings

1. English – 80-40-2

2.  Papson – 79-41-2

3. Wendell 72-48-2

English with a perfect week, putting him in the overall lead at 80-40-2 despite another solid week from Papson. I have cleaned up my act and am a respectable 72-48-2, but I will need to pick up a chunk of games over the coming weeks to have a chance in the end. Still, the whole second half of the season to go. Week gets kicked off with a pillow fight between the 1-6 Raiders and the 1-7 49ers. Since trading Mack, it has been downhill for Gruden in his first year back coaching, and the 49ers don’t have a shot without Jimmy G under center. Sunday has some great inner division and conference battles but all eyes will be on the Rams-Saints late Sunday afternoon and on the Packers-Pats in what is a must win for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers on SNF. This Week 9-13 stretch is of course pivotal to both fantasy (and reality) playoff births, so good luck and enjoy the games! Here are our picks for Week 9!

NFL Game Picks

Game

Wendell

English

Papson

OAK @ SF

CHI @ BUF

KC @ CLV

NYJ @ MIA

DET @ MIN

ATL @ WAS

TB @ CAR

PIT @ BAL

HOU @ DEN

LAC @ SEA

LAR @ NO

GB @ NE

TEN @ DAL

More Analysis by Stephen Wendell

RSO Staff Picks: Week 8

Updated: November 1st 2018

Week 7 Results

T1. Wendell – 11-4

T1. English – 11-4

3. Papson 10-4

Overall Standings

1.  Papson – 68-37-2

2. English – 66-40-2

3. Wendell 60-46-2

English and I inched a game closer to Papson. I am still eight games back while English sits only two back. Big slate of games this week including a rematch of the thrilling Saints-Vikings NFC Divisional Round last year. Here are our picks for Week 8!

NFL Game Picks

Game

Wendell

English

Papson

MIA @ HOU

PHI @ JAX

NYJ @ CHI

TB @ CIN

SEA @ DET

DEN @ KC

WAS @ NYG

CLV @ PIT

BAL @ CAR

IND @ OAK

GB @ LAR

SF @ ARI

NO @ MIN

NE @ BUF

More Analysis by Stephen Wendell

RSO Staff Picks: Week 7

Updated: October 19th 2018

Week 6 Results

1. Papson – 14-1

2. English – 10-5

3. Wendell 8-7

Overall Standings

1.  Papson – 58-33-2

2. English – 55-36-2

3. Wendell 49-42-2

Wow! Pappy cleans up with a 14-1 week, taking the overall lead at an impressive 58-33-2, three games ahead of Kyle and a whopping nine games ahead of me in last place. His only miss, the Jaguars meltdown in Dallas. With the Patriots impressive win in Foxboro over an equally impressive Chiefs team on the road, there now is only one undefeated team, the Rams at 6-0. All other teams have won at least one game, so anything is still possible with eleven more weeks to go before the end of the season. Not a particularly inspiring week of games this week with the exception of the Chiefs, who play another good SNF game hosting the 4-2 Bengals. The Broncos demolished the Cardinals last night (the Cards promptly dismissed their OC this morning), which gives Kyle and I one game up on Pappy to start the week (Pappy loves those Thursday night home teams). The rest of our picks are below. Enjoy the games and good luck in all your fantasy matchups!

NFL Game Picks

Game

Wendell

Papson

English

DEN @ ARI

TEN @ LAC

CAR @ PHI

NE @ CHI

BUF @ IND

DET @ MIA

MIN @ NYJ

CLV @ TB

HOU @ JAX

NO @ BAL

LAR @ SF

DAL @ WAS

CIN @ KC

NYG @ ATL

More Analysis by Stephen Wendell

RSO Staff Picks: Week 5

Updated: October 7th 2018

Week 4 Results

T1. English – 9-6

T1. Papson – 9-6

T1. Wendell 9-6

Overall Standings

1.  English – 36-25-2

2. Papson – 35-26-2

3. Wendell 32-29-2

Lots of different picks from us, but the end record is the same, as we all go 9-6 on the week and the overall standings stay the same. Through the quarter pole of the season, there are only two undefeated teams left in the NFL, the Rams and the Chiefs. The Arizona Cardinals are the only team that does not have a win. Shaping up to be a wild and unpredictable season for sure. Huge AFC game today as the Jags take that great defense to Arrowhead against the current the MVP through four games of the NFL season, Patrick Mahomes. The Steelers (1-2-1) and the Falcons (1-3) are in an absolute playoff like must-win game at Heinz Field today. Here are our picks for the week (we all had the Pats on Thursday night).

NFL Game Picks

Game

Wendell

Papson

English

TEN @ BUF

MIA @ CIN

BAL @ CLV

GB @ DET

JAX @ KC

DEN @ NYJ

ATL @ PIT

NYG @ CAR

OAK @ LAC

MIN @ PHI

ARI @ SF

LAR @ SEA

DAL @ HOU

WAS @ NO

IND @ NE

Everyone enjoy the games in Week 3 and best of luck this week in your leagues!

More Analysis by Stephen Wendell

The Amazing, Good, Sad and Embarrassing

Updated: September 19th 2018

The first two weeks of the NFL season are in the books.  If you need a brief overview of what happened, this is the place.  The article looks at some of the outstanding players and teams so far to some of the worst with a couple more topics thrown in.

The Amazing

Ryan Fitzpatrick and Patrick Mahomes

“FitzMagic” is back!  The Harvard-grad leads the NFL after two weeks in passing yards with over 400 per game, in passer rating (151.5), and yards per attempt (13.4) which is almost three more than any other quarterback.  The “Beard” performed this monumental feat despite playing against two defenses which were top-8 in Football Outsider’s pass efficiency last season.  DeSean Jackson provides a big reason for Fitzpatrick’s early success.  The 31 year old is proving his doubters wrong by setting up big plays for Fitzpatrick getting easy deep separation with his game-changing speed.  Jackson leads the league in receiving yards on only nine targets catching each one for a gaudy 30.6 yards per reception.

Not to be outdone, the Kansas City second-year playcaller is setting records early in 2018.  Mahomes already racked up ten touchdowns without throwing an interception leading the Chiefs to a 2-0 start.  He is receiving good pass protection and the assortment of offensive targets makes big plays possible on every snap.  It is a truly outstanding start to his career.

The Good

NFL Passing

Offenses sometimes start slowly the first few weeks of the season thanks to limited practices in the preseason.  That is not the case this year where teams are putting up video game offensive numbers early.  I talked about the expected increase in passing prior to the season but we have witnessed a massive overcorrection so far.  Tom Brady led the NFL in passing last year at 286 yards per game.  There are eleven quarterbacks averaging more so far this year.  Eleven quarterbacks have passer ratings in excess of 100 this season while only five managed that feat last year.  Yardage and scoring are broadly up throughout the league.  This is a great NFL for those who worship offensive football.

Los Angeles Rams

There was some concern out there the Rams might regress somewhat after an amazing 2017.  We must keep in mind the opponents played so far but the early results suggest the concern is unwarranted.  Los Angeles dismantled the Raiders and Arizona on the way to a league-leading +54 point differential.  The Rams rank no worse than 7th in yardage and scoring for both offense and defense highlighted by allowing a league best 6.5 points per game.  The major offseason additions of Cooks, Suh, Peters, and Talib appear to have integrated nicely at this point making for a dangerous team on both sides of the ball.

The Sad

Josh Gordon

The Gordon saga with the Browns finally came to an end this week after a suspension fueled tumultuous time in Cleveland filled with off the field issues.  The hope and promise of a player who led the league in receiving five years ago never fully materialized again for the Browns.  The fact that Gordon is still on an exclusive rights free agent contract seven years after being drafted tells all you need to know about his struggles.  He was traded to New England Monday.  Everyone hopes he succeeds with the Patriots but that concern is a distant second in comparison to hoping he gets his life in order away from the football field.

Buffalo Bills

Many people envisioned the Bills taking a major step backward after winning nine games and making an improbable playoff bid in 2017. The playoff birth was a mirage masking a Buffalo team finishing with a -57 point differential and ranking just 20th in Football Outsiders team efficiency.  The Bills’ coaching staff understood this was not a playoff-worthy roster and started a complete takedown.  The process will be even uglier than most envisioned.  The offensive side of the ball features one of the worst offensive lines in the league after losing two top linemen to retirement and trading a third away.  There are no receiving options which scare any team.  The only real offensive weapon, LeSean McCoy, just suffered a rib injury.  The Bills were even forced to put rookie Josh Allen into the starting lineup after Nathan Peterman predictably was benched yet again.  A mediocre Bills’ defense crumbled under the pressure of an incompetent offense this year yielding a league worst 39 points per game.  Things are so bad Vontae Davis gave up millions to retire at halftime of week two.  Things will get better in Buffalo but 2018 will be a struggle.

The Embarrassing

Arizona Cardinals

Arizona was competitive last year despite big losses during the season.  The Cardinals went 8-8 in 2017 without David Johnson for most of the year while also starting either Blaine Gabbert or Drew Stanton for over half the season.  New head coach Steve Wilks and the rest of the coaching staff has managed to make a complete mess in Arizona so far this season.  The Cardinals have been outscored by a combined 58 to 6 tally in two lifeless outings on the way to a 0-2 start.  New quarterback Sam Bradford accumulated 346 yards and three touchdowns with zero interceptions in his last full start for Minnesota.  He has a combined 246 yards and zero touchdowns with two interceptions in two starts for Arizona this year.  This looks like a team destined for a complete top to bottom rebuild with everyone from players to coaches in danger.

Honorable mention: Detroit Lions.  The Lions are another competitive team from last season with a new head coach, Matt Patricia, whom struggled mightily in two games.  The 9-7 team from 2017 has not been close in two contests, including being blown out at home against a rookie quarterback making his first NFL start, with players already calling out the new coaching staff.  It could be a rough year for Detroit in a solid NFC conference.

The Giants Offensive Line

Anyone watching the New York-Dallas game Sunday night should easily recognize the huge discrepancy between offensive lines.  Dak Prescott was able to sit back in clean pockets for much of the night while Eli Manning was under constant pressure for almost every dropback forcing short quick dumpoffs and ugly throws.  The Giants’ line struggles continued to the run game where Saquon Barkley was continuously required to make defenders miss nearly as soon as he touched the ball.  New York will not compete this season if new head coach Pat Shurmur does not fix the dreadful offensive line, no matter the wealth of talent at the skill positions.

NFL “Roughing the Passer” Issue

Defenders may not hit the quarterback in the head, or the knees, or the mid-section, or land on them, or pick them up, or…   You get the picture.  What are defenders supposed to do?  Put their hand up as a stop sign and hope the quarterback falls to the ground out of fear?  There is simply no reasonable way for defenders to tackle quarterbacks without being at risk of penalty at this time.  The NFL has vastly overcorrected thanks to high-profile injuries at quarterback last season.  The recent Matthews’ penalty is just the most recent example of the problem that costs teams wins.  The NFL must make a decision as to whether quarterbacks are actual football players or porcelain dolls in need of protection at all costs.  Acknowledge the dangers of the sport and go back to calling the most egregious hits if it is the former.  Use a touch rule or flags to eliminate hitting of quarterbacks altogether If it is the latter.


Bio:  Bernard Faller has degrees in engineering and economics.  He currently lives in Las Vegas and enjoys athletics, poker, and fantasy football in his free time.  Send your questions and comments (both good and bad) on Twitter @BernardFaller1.

More Analysis by Bernard Faller

RSO Staff Picks: Week 2

Updated: September 13th 2018

Week 1 Results & Overall Standings

1. Papson 10-5-1 

2. English – 9-6-1

3. Wendell – 7-8-1

Mr. Papson picks up right where he left off last season with the best record this week, which is traditionally a tough week to pick games as you just never know who is new and improved and who is not. We will all have a tie on our records for the year and the Browns scratched out an impressive tie against the Steelers. Other surprises included a one-legged Aaron Rodgers coming from way behind to beat the Bears (well I guess that is not a surprise if you are a Bears fan), Dallas looking abysmal in Carolina, the new look Redskins going on the road and trouncing the Cardinals, the Bucs/Saints combining for nearly 100 points with Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm in TB, and the Jimmy G show getting a reality check against one of the league’s best defenses in Minnesota. Great storylines from Week 1 and even more to develop as we look to Week 2 with a classic AFC North battle between two 1-0 teams tonight between Baltimore and Cincinnati to kick us off. Our picks for the week are below:

NFL Game Picks

Game

Wendell

Papson

English

BAL @ CIN

PHI @ TB

CAR @ ATL

SD @ BUF

MIN @ GB

HOU @ TEN

CLV @ NO

MIA @ NYJ

KC @ PIT

IND @ WAS

ARI @ LAR

DET @ SF

OAK @ DEN

NE @ JAX

NYG @ DAL

SEA @ CHI

Everyone enjoy the games in Week 2 and best of luck this week in your leagues!

More Analysis by Stephen Wendell