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Week 15 Preview – Staying Alive

Week 15 Preview – Staying Alive

By Steven Van Tassell (@SteveVT33)

Week 14 saw a few NFL teams keep their slim playoff hopes alive. Other teams kept winning to solidify their place in the playoffs and hopes to stay alive once the NFL playoffs start. The Baltimore Ravens victory over the Cleveland Browns on Monday night was their second straight victory and has them in a tie for the final playoff bid in the AFC. In the NFC, Arizona has a one-game lead for the seventh and final playoff seed after their victory over the New York Giants. The Washington Football Team is currently on a four-game winning streak which makes them the leader in the NFC East at 6-7, one game ahead of the Giants. Even the Denver Broncos kept their extremely slim playoff hopes alive by winning against the Carolina Panthers last week. They will need to keep winning to stay alive in the NFL playoff race, but it’s not over yet for them.

Last week was the first round of the Dynasty Owner playoffs and while the #1 and #2 seeds had byes in the playoffs (and the #7 and #8 seeds had Loser’s Bracket byes), the rest of the teams had to win to stay alive. This includes #6 seeds who just made it to the playoffs with 7-6 records (or worse). It also includes those #11 and #12 seeds who finished at the bottom of their Leagues in the regular season, but still have a chance at winning the Loser’s Bracket tournament and earning the 1.13 pick in their Dynasty Owner rookie draft. In both of my leagues, the #11 and #12 seeds stayed alive for a chance at that pick by winning their first round Loser’s Bracket tournament game.

It’s similar at the top as well. In looking at all of the matchups for the teams in the Top 25 of the Chase for the Ring, there were a dozen of those teams’ opponents with 7-6 records in the regular season, meaning that they were likely either the #5 or #6 seed in the playoffs. Despite barely making the playoffs, those teams stayed alive in their attempt to win a League title by knocking off a higher ranked team in the first round of the playoffs. Now, they have the chance to knock off one of the top teams in Dynasty Owner.

One guy who has stayed alive for the past couple of weeks is our good friend and friendly Dynasty Owner podcast host Seth. His team (CLE Piggy Pauls) haven’t lost since Week 9 when they were 5-4 and in danger of not making the playoffs. We’ll look at his match-up in the Crossroads League semi-finals as well as an epic clash between two teams in the Top 25 of the Chase for the Ring. That’s right, in order to stay alive in their quest for their League Championship and a chance at the Ring, they need to beat another Chase contender in the semi-finals. We’ll look at both of these playoff games, check out the overall projected score and then the Starters and Bench to see how each team’s current lineups are projected to produce.

All stats are based on the Standard Dynasty Owner scoring system as outlined in the updated Dynasty Owner Constitution. Standard Dynasty Owner scoring gives you .1 points for every yard rushing or receiving, .1 point for every 2 yards passing, 1 point per reception, 6 points for a rushing, receiving or passing touchdown and 2 points for a successful 2-point conversion (rushing, receiving, or passing). Interceptions or fumbles lost cost you 3 points, while a fumble that is recovered by the player’s team is a loss of only 1 point. Bonus points are available for 100-199 yards rushing (2 points), 200 yards rushing or receiving (6 points), 300-399 yards passing (1 point) and 400 yards passing (4 points). There is also a 3 point bonus for clutch scoring, which is a score that results in a lead change in the final two minutes of the 4th quarter or overtime. Kickoff and punt return touchdowns are worth 6 points for the player and kickoff and punt returns are worth 1 point for every 40 yards.

Standard Dynasty Owner scoring for kickers gives you 1 point for every extra point, while a missed extra point will cost you 1 point. It’s 2 points for a field goal of between 0 and 39 yards, 4 points for a field goal between 40 and 49 yards and 5 points for a field goal of 50 yards or longer. A missed field goal of between 0 and 39 yards will cost you 3 points, while a miss of 40 yards or more is a loss of 2 points.

For the purposes of this article, ADP and Dynasty Owner ownership statistics were current as of December 18th.

These Guys Should be Starters This Week

First, let’s take a look at how my first-round playoff (Week 14) Starter recommendations fared (Good, Bad or Just Ok):

  • QB: Taysom Hill – 23.8 (Just Ok recommendation)
  • RB: Myles Gaskin – Did Not Play
  • WR: Michael Gallup – 4.3 (Bad recommendation)
  • TE: Noah Fant – 0.0 (Bad recommendation)

Not a great way to start the playoffs with one Just Ok recommendation and two Bad ones plus a Did Not Play for Myles Gaskin. While Taysom Hill was Just Ok since he finished as the #11 QB in Dynasty Owner for Week 14, he did outscore nine out of the 12 QBs in the Top 12 including Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Kyler Murray, Deshaun Watson, Ryan Tannehill, Tom Brady and Justin Herbert. On the Bad side, we had Michael Gallup who was targeted six times for Dallas, but only had 4.3 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. Recommending Noah Fant was also bad as he had a Blutarsky (0.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points), but that was because he got sick early on in the game and never returned to play. We still get to make selections this week despite the poor week. It’s the playoffs so these choices continue to be difficult, but regardless, let’s go with these guys as players who should be in your Starting lineup in Week 15:

Nick Mullens (QB – SF): This isn’t the easiest of week to find a QB who is usually a Bench option but should be a Starter. Even though Taysom Hill outscored a bunch of higher ranked QBs last week, all of those players had between 20.0 and 24.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points, so the differences were marginal. This week, Nick Mullens is the recommendation, but the only way Dynasty Owners should be using him is if you are desperate. Maybe Joe Burrow was your franchise QB and he’s done for the year, or Matthew Stafford is your usual starter, but he might not play, or you had Carson Wentz and now he’s a backup in Philadelphia. Maybe you drafted Jimmy Garoppolo and stashed Mullens and his $750,000 contract deep on your Practice Squad for just this occasion. Mullens is averaging only 16.9 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game in 2020 but has thrown for 200 yards or more in every game and averages 268 passing yards per game. Turnovers are the issue with Mullens as he has thrown at least one INT in six out of eight games. Fortunately for him and his Dynasty Owners, Dallas has only forced five INTs all season. An average passing week plus a TD and no turnovers is almost 20.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. Add in another TD and that’s good enough to be in your Starting lineup.

Lynn Bowden (RB – MIA): For the second straight week, the pick for RB to Start is a member of the Miami Dolphins. Hopefully this week’s choice Lynn Bowden plays, unlike Myles Gaskin who did not play last week. Speaking of playing, after barely playing through the first 12 weeks of the season, Bowden stepped up with 9.2 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in Week 13 versus Cincinnati and 15.4 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in Week 14 versus Kansas City. While he’s listed as a RB, Bowden got almost all of his points in both games catching the ball. He’s also a threat to run or even throw an option pass since he was a QB in college. Bill Belichick’s defenses are usually tough for rookie QBs to figure out, so the Dolphins might try some trickery and have Bowden throw an option pass or two this week. Even if he doesn’t, the Dolphins could be without their two leading receivers in Davante Parker and Mike Gesicki. This would give other Dolphins players an opportunity to shine. Bowden will be one of them and since he’s produced the past two weeks, he’s the best bet to do it again and should be in your Starting lineup.

Keke Coutee (WR – HOU): The Indianapolis Colts pass defense was one of the best for the first half of the season. However, in each of the past four weeks, they have allowed a WR to score over 20.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. First, Davante Adams had 23.6 points, then it was A.J. Brown with 26.9 points, which included a 42-yard TD return of an onside kick. Two weeks ago, it was Coutee whoscored 24.9 Dynasty Owner fantasy points (8 receptions, 141 receiving yards, 112 return yards). Finally, Nelson Agholor scored 21.0 points against them last week. That’s an average of 24.1 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game. Coutee gets a second chance at Indianapolis in Week 15 and it seems likely that it’s going to be a fifth straight game with a WR torching their secondary. That’s why Dynasty Owners should have Coutee in their Starting lineup.

Cole Kmet (TE – CHI): For the past three weeks, Cole Kmet has been on the field for over three-quarters of the Bears’ offensive snaps. All three games featured Mitchell Trubisky at QB. Kmet been targeted 17 times in those games, included 7 times in each of the past two games. In those two games, he has scored 22.8 Dynasty Owner fantasy points combined (9 receptions, 78 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD). The Bears’ opponent this week are the Minnesota Vikings who held the Bears’ TEs to just one catch for seven yards back in Week 10 when Nick Foles was the Bears starting QB. The Vikings allowed a pair of Jacksonville TEs (Tyler Eifert and James O’Shaughnessy) to catch 10 passes for 86 yards two weeks ago, so they are vulnerable. Trubisky exploit that vulnerability so Kmet can play good enough to have in your Starting lineup.

These Guys Should Be on the Bench (or Practice Squad) This Week

Next up is reviewing the Week 14 Bench or Practice Squad recommendations to see how those did.

  • QB: Kyler Murray – 21.9 (Just Ok recommendation)
  • RB: Giovani Bernard – 2.3 (Good recommendation)
  • WR: JuJu Smith-Schuster – 17.5 (Bad recommendation)
  • TE: Robert Tonyan – 14.6 (Bad recommendation)

We had one Good recommendation, one Just Ok recommendation and two Bad recommendations last week for players to put on your Dynasty Owner Bench. That’s down from the past two weeks when we had two Good recommendations, but it’s still four weeks in a row with at least one Good Bench recommendation. We kept that streak alive because Giovani Bernard had an early fumble, was out of the lineup for a while and only produced 2.3 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. Kyler Murray had an average game with 21.9 Dynasty Owner fantasy points and the call to Bench him was Just Ok. However, JuJu Smith-Schuster was a Top 25 WR and Robert Tonyan was a Top 5 TE so both of those Bench recommendations were Bad. Even though last week’s recommendations weren’t great, our hope of having more Good than Bad recommendations is still alive as we have had 20 Good and 23 Bad Bench recommendations so far this season. With that goal in mind, here’s a set of Bench picks for Week 15.  

Ryan Tannehill (QB – TEN): It seems like all of the top QBs are playing poor pass defenses this week.  Patrick Mahomes does face a good one in the Saints, but there’s no way I’m picking Mahomes to have a bad game. Tannehill has been good this year, but this pick has little to do with Tannehill and his ability to play well against the Detroit Lions. It does have everything to do with the potential that Derrick Henry will run all over the Lions defense and the Titans won’t need Tannehill to throw the ball very much. The Lions have let teams run for over 200 yards twice against them this season and Henry could make it three. If that happens, Tannehill may play well, it’s just that he might not need to do more than hand the ball off to Henry. That would make him better suited to be on your Bench.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB – KC): The rookie with the best ADP (9.4) has been good, but not great this season. He’s the #14 ranked RB even after not playing in Week 13 and is averaging 14.2 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game. However, he has a match-up against the New Orleans Saints whose defense is allowing the third fewest yards to RBs and not allowing them to catch many passes either (4.3 receptions per game by RBs). Admittedly, they allowed Philadelphia to run for 246 yards against them last week, but 106 of those yards were by QB Jalen Hurts and 82 of Miles Sanders’ 115 yards came on one big play. Otherwise, RBs only had 39 yards on 16 carries. The Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes will probably find other ways to move the ball against the Saints that don’t involve Edwards-Helaire so leave him on your Dynasty Owner Bench this week. 

Tyler Lockett (WR – SEA): Lockett is the #8 ranked WR in Dynasty Owner, but his high ranking is largely built upon two really big games (59.2 Dynasty Owner fantasy points against Arizona in Week 7 and 37.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points against Dallas in Week 3). He has 8 TDs on the season, but 6 came in those two games. For the rest of the season, he’s averaging 11.5 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game. That average drops to just 10.8 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game since the Week 7 explosion against Arizona. Those averages over the entire season equate to being the #34 (11.5 points per game) or #39 (10.8 points per game) WR in Dynasty Owner and someone better suited for your Bench than the Starting lineup.

Dalton Schultz (TE – DAL): Schultz has been a pleasant surprise for his Dynasty Owners this season. He’s the #10 ranked TE in Dynasty Owner at a salary of just $728,090 after being undrafted. This week, Dallas is playing San Francisco and the 49ers defense is the stingiest in the NFL against opposing TEs, allowing the fewest number of yards (399 yards) and receptions (44) to TEs all season. They have also only allowed 3 receiving TDs by TEs all year. Schultz isn’t the type of TE who produces without scoring a TD. He has scored over 10.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points four times this season, but only once did he score that much without a TD. Schultz is also splitting receptions with three WRs (Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb) plus RB Ezekiel Elliott in the Dallas offense. Hopefully you have a TE on your roster with a better matchup and can leave Schultz on your Bench this week.

Seth’s Quest for a Dynasty Owner Title Matchup

Real Timo’s Titans vs. CLE Piggy Pauls

We saw Seth stay alive in the Crossroads League playoffs last week by dispatching Girthquake and now he’s got a semi-finals match-up against the #1 seed Real Timo’s Titans, the pride and joy of Dynasty Owner CEO Tim Peffer. Can Seth overcome the odds again and keep his 5-game winning streak alive? Let’s take a look and find out:

It’s going to be tough for Seth as based on the exclusive Dynasty Owner scoring projections for each team’s current lineup, his team is projected to lose by a wide margin (150.0-112.9). Let’s check out each team’s Starters and see who’s in there now and if there’s any way Seth and his team can win.

It’s an across-the-board advantage for Real Timo’s Titans from each team’s Starting lineups. Tim’s team is projected to have a 37.1-point lead over Seth and the CLE Piggy Paul’s from their respective current Starting lineups. Only at the WR1 position with Stefon Diggs over Justin Jefferson do the CLE Piggy Paul’s have an advantage. Let’s see if there is anyone on Seth’s Bench who can help him close the gap.

There’s no Bench advantage for either team. However, the projections for Mike Davis from CLE Piggy Paul’s are higher than their Starter in Damien Harris by 5.5 points. That switch could close the gap a little bit, but it’s going to be difficult for Seth to win without some great performances by his team coupled with a poor performance or two from Tim’s squad.

Dynasty Owner Matchup of the Week #2

Bayside Tigers vs. Jet Jones

Our second Match-up of the Week features a rarity among the games for teams in the Chase for the Ring this week. It features two Chase teams who appear heading to a close game. One team is going to win and keep their Ring hopes alive, while the other team will go home and not even have a chance to win their League. Will it be Bayside Tigers, the #5 team in the Chase, or Jet Jones, the #18 team? Let’s find out:

Based on the exclusive Dynasty Owner scoring projections for each team’s current lineup, it’s going to be a close one. In a high scoring game, an upset is brewing as Jet Jones has a slight advantage (163.4-166.1). Let’s check out each team’s Starters and see which team has better ones than the other.

One team has an advantage from the Starters and its Jet Jones. They have a 12-point lead from his Starters with most of the advantage coming from TE as Darren Waller is projected to outscore T.J. Hockenson by 10 points. Each team has their best offensive weapon outside of QB in their FLEX with Tyreek Hill for Bayside Tigers up against Davante Adams of Jet Jones. Interestingly, the Starting QB for Bayside Tigers is Aaron Rodgers so if Rodgers throws TDs to players on the Packers not named Davante Adams, it could swing the game to the Bayside Tigers’ advantage.

With Jet Jones having such an advantage from their Starters, let’s see how Bayside Tigers stay alive in this match-up from each team’s Bench.

Bayside Tigers have a much better Bench with a Tampa Bay Bench stack of the G.O.A.T. Tom Brady and Antonio Brown against Atlanta. Both teams also have injury concerns on their Bench with Ryan Succop for Bayside Tigers and more importantly, Matthew Stafford for Jet Jones. If Stafford doesn’t play as currently projected, Jet Jones loses the Bench scoring by 46.7 points, which equates to 9.3 more points for Bayside Tigers. Stafford gutting it out for the Lions and Jet Jones, or Jet Jones having a viable QB replacement on their Practice Squad, might be the determining factor in this Chase for the Ring elimination game.

Conclusion

Whether you’re in your League playoffs and trying to win some money or just $100 million Dynasty Dollars, or in the Loser’s Bracket tournament and vying for that 1.13 pick to help rebuild your Dynasty, it’s all about winning and staying alive. For Seth and Tim, it’s also about bragging rights for an entire year on the Dynasty Owner podcast. For Bayside Tigers and Jet Jones, winning and staying alive means having an opportunity to win the Ring and all of the glory that comes with it. Next week is the big one – the finals of the Playoffs and Loser’s Bracket tournament. Somebody we preview will win their League and maybe even the Ring.

Because of the frozen rosters during the Playoffs, there’s no need for the usual weekly free agent article from Jay Poundsee (@jaypoundsnfl), but he’s got an Intro to Rebuilding and Retooling Your Roster for those of you who aren’t competing in the playoffs right now. Matt Morrison – The Jerk (@Dynastyjerk) looks at Sleepers and Rookies in his article this week. Read both of them to know how to keep building your Dynasty and follow all of us and Dynasty Owner (@Dynasty_Owner) on Twitter.

The weekly Tuesday Live podcast is at 3 PM (Eastern) / Noon (Pacific) with Seth and Tim. That’s where you can find out if CLE Piggy Paul’s (Seth) or Real Timo’s Titans (Tim) won their match-up and who has a chance to win the Crossroads League title. If Real Timo’s Titans wins, then Tim and I will likely discuss it as well on our weekly podcast on Wednesday at 1PM (Eastern) / 10 AM (Pacific). Both will be streaming live on the Dynasty Owner channel on YouTube.

Tune in to learn more about Dynasty Owner, see how our predictions did and help you set your weekly lineup. Subscribe to the YouTube channel and make sure to “Like” all of the videos to help promote them. Dynasty Owner has 572 subscribers on YouTube now and thank you all for watching and listening. All of this great content is available to help you win your weekly matchup, your Dynasty Owner league and maybe become the winner of the 2020 Chase for the Ring!

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