Fix Your Brain, Start Jared Goff

Rams Jared Goff

This week I am continuing my weekly column to fix one of your biggest fantasy football obstacles, your brain. I will also examine my picks from last week and present my coin flip choices for week five. Fantasy football players usually spend a lot of time dwelling over one close decision. There are few reasons why I think this is a mistake. I will also tell you why I am starting Jared Goff.

In my view, you should be using your brain to think about challenging some of your assumptions elsewhere in your lineup and not draining it on one decision with little difference in player projections. I suggest the following approach. Early in the week, set your lineup right away. Don’t overanalyze, just go with your gut.  During the middle of the week, read up on research and articles here at www.fakepigskin.com and elsewhere. Thursday, you clearly need to check your Thursday night players and make your decisions early on those players. 

Then late in the week, on Saturday or Sunday, revisit your lineups with the latest injury and analysis information from your mid-week reading. Make your decisions on your tough calls that were on your brain. This way you aren’t spending all week thinking about it. That switch on your brain is really hard to turn off. I suggest you also think about the “easy” decisions you made and challenge them. Last week I said it was an easy to bench Cam Newton for Alex Smith. From a results only standpoint, that was incorrect. The point is to take a second look at the “easy” calls.

Chiefs Alex Smith

Getty Images

Let’s briefly review my choices from week four. 

Alex Smith over Philip Rivers – CORRECT – NOT a factor

Devin Funchess over Eric Decker – CORRECT – NOT a factor

Rishard Matthews over Ted Ginn – CORRECT – NOT a factor

I have now written about nine of my coin flips on the season. Only two of those nine were a factor in my fantasy football matchups. Two decisions became voided out for one reason or another. I do believe you continue to analyze players and their matchups but just don’t overthink something that usually won’t matter. Also, challenge your assumptions on other parts of your lineups.

We are on to week five’s tough calls. Bye weeks are now hitting, and so you may find yourself either with easier start sit decisions or a need to pound the waiver wire. I definitely have less tough calls this week since I am pretty heavy on the bye week teams. The bye weeks can force you into some awkward fantasy football corners. I am going to be writing about two such decisions this week. They may seem disparate choices, because well, they are. They are also very real.

Zach Miller vs. Jesse James

Jared Goff vs. Jacoby Brissett

The fantasy football position of Tight End has been ugly this season. On a team where I drafted Tyler Eifert and Coby Fleener I had to choose between adding and using either Zach Miller or Jesse James. First I look to Las Vegas and the odds and projections on these games. I must say at this time, what a horrible tragedy that took place in Las Vegas. If you follow me on twitter you know that “vegas” is part of my handle. I have no real ties to the city I just love to vacation there when I can. With that out of the way, it was very sad and horrible beyond words to see that terribly violent act committed there. In my columns I very rarely mention these kinds of things, but I had to say something since I am forever mentioning Las Vegas in this space. It is just sad beyond words.

Somehow turning back to fake sports, my apologies if this is upsetting but I have a job to do here. Las Vegas is not currently showing a line for the Bears Vikings game. The world continues to wait for Sam Bradford’s knee health to be known for the week. If I could, once I see no line I would immediately stop thinking about any decisions on players in that game. However the fantasy football gods are cruel, I cannot wait because I have to add a player.  Pittsburgh will be projected to score more and be favored to win at thome. Jacksonville is typically run on by its opponents. I would expect a heavy dose of Le’Veon Bell in this game.

Chicago is also at home but they are starting a rookie quarterback against a very good defense. Predicting the Vegas odds isn’t all that difficult in this situation. The Bears will likely be an underdog in the point spread, and won’t be projected to score very often. That may mean more opportunities for Miller if they are playing from behind and the Steelers are playing with the lead. The Vegas odds will definitely favor Jesse James in terms of team projected points, it will just a question of by how much. Point spread will point to using Zach Miller. So let us turn to targets and other information.

Per Rotoworld, there isn’t any difference in the target totals for Zach Miller and Jesse James.  Zach Miller has 136 airyards to Jesse James’ 100 yards. Again both players have had similar opportunity so far. On paper it seems like Zach Miller projects for better yardage but Jesse James is the better bet to score a touchdown. However Zach Miller’s statistics to date came with Mike Glennon at the steering the wheel of the lifeless Bears offense. So we are basically guessing at how much the new Bears quarterback will throw to his tight end. There also isn’t much to glean from preseason action with Mitchell Trubisky, since he normally played with the two’s and three’s and Miller played with the one’s. Trubisky did look pretty good in limited pre-season action throwing for 364 yards, 3 touchdowns and no interceptions across four games. This isn’t very significant for the Bears offense outlook this week, but it is some small truth to hang onto in a very cringeworthy world.

Bears Zach Miller

Kirby Lee – USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers have so many more weapons to choose from. While, the Bears have lost receivers due to devastating injuries. This situation seems to favor Zach Miller’s outlook. Per Yahoo, Minnesota has surprisingly given up the ninth most points to fantasy football tight ends. Jesse James allegedly has a slightly better matchup since Jacksonville has allowed the sixth most points, per the same system. Both opposing defenses (Vikings, Jaguars) have good cornerbacks which would lead you to think the tight ends should get involved. I also believe them to be similar in actual ability.  In summary, there players are basically tied across the board with Jesse James getting an edge in my estimation based on the yet to be posted Bears Vikings total points (over/under.). I have a feeling about this Bears game and I think Mitchell Trubisky’s first NFL passing game will involve a heavy dose of short passes to Tarik Cohen and Zach Miller. I am going with Zach Miller over Jesse James, based mainly on gut feeling. I will circle back and check the odds on Sunday morning.

My second fantasy football is just as exciting! I am forced to choosing between Jared Goff or Jacoby Brissett in a league where I have another quarterback on their bye. The bye week scrambling is one of my favorite parts of the season. I must admit here that I am a big fan of Jacoby Brissett and I use him in two other leagues. First stop is Las Vegas odds, and Jared Goff has a slight edge of approximately one point in his team’s projected score. Recall, last week I showed how to calculate this number from the total projected points (over/under) and the point spread. There also multiple websites now that show the team’s projected points (including airyards.com.) I am still calculating my own, because I am slow and stubborn. Las Vegas is favoring both the Colts and Rams playing at home by one point each. I never thought we would say this day. What magical times we all live in. The Rams game is projected to be higher scoring a total of 47.5 versus only 43.5 for the Colts game. So Jared Goff has a small but real edge in terms of the Las Vegas odds implications. Obviously gambling odds don’t actually make the football happen. But it is a piece of information you can use for your fantasy football decisions.

The Rams are at home against Seattle and the Colts are at home against the Fortyniners. Per NFL.com, Seattle has been the number four pass defense (yards per game allowed) and the Fortyniners are the 22nd ranked. So Jacoby Brissett would get the edge since he has the easier opponent to produce fantasy football points against. Jared Goff himself hung three touchdowns on this Fortyniners defense. Seattle’s defense has some key injuries, including Cliff Avril and Jeremy Lane, per Rotoworld. That doesn’t change the overall point here. Jacoby Brissett has a much easier matchup. 

So far this season Jared Goff has eighth most passing yards and Jacoby Brissett is 30th. Remember though that the Colts mired through the Scott Tolzien experiment for too long. Jared Goff has 7 passing touchdowns and one interception, and Jacoby Brissett has two of each. From a traditional statistics standpoint Jared Goff has had a much better start to the season. Because of that and the Vegas odds, I am starting Jared Goff over Jacoby Brissett. It is never pretty when facing Seattle’s defense, unless you have Fast Willie Parker. At least Goff and the Rams are at home and the also have the very talented Todd Gurley. To recap I am leaning,

Zach Miller over Jesse James [will check odds on Sunday]

Jared Goff over Jacoby Brissett

Analyze, but don’t dwell, and double check the “easy” choices on your lineups. Good luck and thanks for reading!

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