View From the Pit 2015 – Week 8

That’s it, past the half way point of the regular season. A few changes in the league this week – with no outright winners or outright losers – yet, no one has a division sewn up, but both Rab’s Panthers and Shaun’s Fire will be looking at the results carefully over the next couple of weeks –  if things go their way they could book their spots and relax for a couple of weeks.

Week 8 sees us over the Hallowe’en weekend, so lets get things off to a start with this weirdness, you know what those cats get up to when you are asleep no?

Panthers, Tigers and Jaguars might be needing a bit of that Cat Magic over Hallowe’en, lets see what the rest of the league can put up to stop them.

Kicking off with a top to bottom clash. League joint leaders panthers host the struggling pirates

Paul’s Petrifying Pirates at Rab’s Ravenous Panthers

2-5 Tweedbank Pirates, who hope to end their 4 game losing streak, play the 5-2 Pilton Panthers at Pilton Park.

Pirates were led in week 7 by a 24.02 point effort fromAndrew LuckVincent Jackson was not injured before the start of his week 7 game, and contributed 1.30 points, but he’s listed as questionable in week 8 due to an injured knee , which might severely limit his fantasy production. Tweedbank Pirates can expect a 16.97 point effort fromAndrew Luck in week 8

Panthers were led in week 7 by a 25.44 point effort from Philip Rivers. Pilton Panthers can expect a 13.07 point effort from Doug Martin this week

This is the first game between these two franchises in 2015. In the 2-year history of this rivalry, Tweedbank Pirates hold a 1-1-0 all-time series record against Pilton Panthers.

Oh dear, it’s all gone wrong for Paul. What looked like a pretty good draft has been well and truly sunk by injuries and no shows so far. Meanwhile Rab’s Panther’s have been pouncing on every unsuspecting team in the league, this week looks like more of the same I’m afraid, as Rab has the advantage everywhere except Kicker and DST. Pirates will need a hefty dose of luck to make any inroads here, and the Pit struggles to see that, but lets go with a bit of Hallowe’en magic and call it for the Pirates.

The other leader has a home game against the mighty pickaxe

Gav’s Bloody Pickaxe at Shaun’s HellFire

4-3 Nitten Pickaxe face off against the 5-2 Fife Fire at Balbirnie Stadium.

Pickaxe were led in week 7 by a 18.20 point effort fromMarshawn LynchChris Ivory was not injured before the start of his week 7 game, and contributed 11.30points, but he’s listed as questionable in week 8 due to an injured hamstring , which might severely limit his fantasy production. Nitten Pickaxe can expect a 17.45 point effort from Russell Wilson in week 8.

Fire were led in week 7 by a 27.00 point effort from T.Y. Hilton. Fife Fire can expect a 20.45 point effort from Cam Newton in week 8.

This is the first game between these two franchises in 2015. Shaun has a tough job deciding on one of two top 10 QBs this week, either of whom could have a big game, so far this year he’s made pretty much the right decision every week but can that luck last? Gav looks to have the advantage at RB, but both Lynch and Ivory look like they may not last the season, and the Devonta Freeman train had a bit more of an uphill struggle last week. Fire have the advantage for sure at WR, where Pickaxe have struggled all year, however if Manning has used his rest week well he could be back up to top form. Unusually this game could be wide open on Monday night when Carolina host Indiana, Gav needs the Panthers D to put up some numbers, whilst Shaun wants some big air for TY Hilton – of course you probably cannot have both of those so the outcome of that game could decide this contest.

The pit goes with Pickaxe this time

Next up its some bottom table clashes

Nicky’s Terrifying Tigers at Cozy’s Quivering Earthquakes

2-5 Tranent Tigers, who hope to end their 3 game losing streak, play the 3-4 Earlston Earthquakes at The Cauldie.
Tigers were led in week 7 by a 25.00 point effort from the St. Louis Rams Defensive Team. Tranent Tigers can expect a 14.52 point effort from Brian Hoyer in week 8

Earthquakes were led in week 7 by a 28.30 point effort fromTodd Gurley. Earlston Earthquakes can expect a 17.84 point effort from Carson Palmer in week 8.

This is the first game between these two franchises in 2015. Nicky’s on a 3 game losing streak whilst Cozy has come right back in it with 3 wins on the bounce for the Earthquakes. The projections have it pretty close and LeGarette Blount gets things started early doors for the Tigers on Thursday night – if that goes well, and it could well do, then that will set a chase target for the Quakes. Charcandrick West Sealed his RB1 status at Knasas last week, making Cozy’s waiver pick up look better and better – sometimes it pays to have a slow start to the season! We’ll see if Stefon Diggs can do the same for Nicky this week. The Rams DST have a great match up this week and could really nail some useful points for the struggling Tigers. This game could go either way, Cozy looks to have the safer option of a better RB crew, but Nicky leads elsewhere and with just a little of our Hallowe’en magic and a few choice offerings to those zombie cat priests, the Pit gives this one to the Tigers.

Euan’s Wailing  187’s at Richie’s Sinister 69ers

2-5 Kelso 187’s, who hope to end their 4 game losing streak, challenge the 3-4 SanFran-Gordon 69ers at Castle Greyskull.
187’s were led in week 7 by a 22.10 point effort from Danny Woodhead. Kelso 187’s can expect a 16.65 point effort from Matt Ryan in week 8.

SanFran-Gordon 69ers were led in week 7 by a 18.74 point effort fromMatthew Stafford. SanFran-Gordon 69ers can expect a 12.62 point effort from Rob Gronkowski.

This is the first game between these two franchises in 2015. Lets see how the numbers add up in a game that Rachel Riley might struggle to work out. The 187s have been way off target in October – maybe they should stop playing ‘Gangsta’, put their caps on the right way round and hold those weapons so they can see down the sights.  It could be their week though – as Richie has a couple of players on a bye. Aaron rogers and Gronk are 2 lonely high points in an otherwise very average lineup this week, though both have been reliable enough up till now. Euan needs his RB team to get a couple of TDs, neither of them are in the top 10 this week, but they are higher ranked than Richie’s, that will mean very little without at least 6 TD bonus points. Antonio Brown could well be the star this week, though Vinatieri will be kicking to seal the deal Monday. The Pit gives it to the 187s to get them back on track.

the other 2 games are all 4-3 struggles, so two of these teams heading for the top flight, whilst the others end up on the line.

Jimmy’s Jump out yer skin  Jaguars at Stuart’s Frightful Fog

4-3 Jimmy’s Jerman Jaguars challenge the 4-3 Fog on the Tyne at New St James Park.
Jaguars were led in week 7 by a 29.70 point effort from Tom Brady. Jimmy’s Jerman Jaguars can expect a 21.40 point effort from Tom Brady in week 8.

Fog were led in week 7 by a 19.30 point effort fromAmari Cooper. Fog on the Tyne can expect a 14.95 point effort from Joe Flacco in week 8.

In week 1, Jimmy’s Jerman Jaguars defeated Fog on the Tyne by 49.28 points, so coach Stuart is looking for revenge this week. In the 3-year history of this rivalry, Jimmy’s Jerman Jaguars hold a 4-1-0 all-time series record against Fog on the Tyne. Make no mistake, Stuart will be out for blood in this game, to turn around some of theat 1-4 deficit in this match up. Jaguars have Tom Brady on Thursday night though – and what better way to get some points on the board, Joe Flacco doesn’t look like nearly matching those numbers so Fog will look elsewhere, to Forte and Gore at RB for example who could get some top class numbers. Jimmy is matching Stuart all the way though and it could weel be that the lead built up by Brady on Thursday seals it – its a win for the Jags.

Last but not least its

Stuart’s Sinful Avengers at Ally’s Beelzebub Bohemians

4-3 Kelsae Avengers play the 4-3 Earlstonian Bohemians at Bohemian Park.
Avengers were led in week 7 by a 18.40 point effort from T.J. Yeldon. With Yeldon on bye in week 8, they’ll need to count on their second-string RB to carry the team this week. Kelsae Avengers can expect a 13.85 point effort from Calvin Johnson in week 8.

Bohemians were led in week 7 by a 35.60 point effort from Lamar MillerJoseph Randle was not injured before the start of his week 7 game, and contributed 2.40 points, but he’s listed as questionable in week 8 due to an injured oblique , which might severely limit his fantasy production. Earlstonian Bohemians can expect a 18.93 point effort from Ryan Tannehill in week 8,

This is the first game between these two franchises in 2015.Bohemians go early with both QB and RB in action on Thursday night – they’ll need to get around 35 between them to give Ally the cushion he wants. Rishard Matthews, WR for Stuart,may cut into what surely will be a big lead on Friday morning though – and if he gets some numbers Bohos will be worried. Bohemians are done by bedtime sunday, whilst its either a long night or a bit of hit and hope for Stuart as he’s not finished to the wee small hours on Monday.

All in all, Calvin Johnston looks like one of the few players who will outdo their counterparts on the other side, and on that basis, its a win for Bohemians

Kicker Predictatron or Predicting Weekly Fantasy Scores for Kickers

Several months ago I published an article on the site about how you go about choosing a reliable kicker for your fantasy season. It went down the tried and tested road of “pick a good kicker on a good offensive team” and for most players that should be enough to keep you happy for the rest of the fantasy season.

Well I don’t know about you but, I’m never happy with my kicker. Their output is frustratingly random and most of the time I’m just happy to trade off points with my opponents kicker. But what if we could “stream” kickers on a regular basis and start to gain (at least) an advantage or (at best) start to win games with them because we’ve cherry picked the best match-ups?

There are several articles out there that cite statistical analysis of kickers and relate their scores to offensive production, stadium location and game script (a team in a winning position attempts more field goals than a losing one). Now I could turn this into an absolutely crazy regression analysis of different variables that affect kickers, but that just takes things a little too far. I’m not looking for proof, just something that helps guide us in our choice.

This takes us back to the prime variable in all this talk; points scored. In general terms the more points your offense scores then the more points your kicker will score. So if we could somehow predict the number of points an offense scores on a weekly basis perhaps we could predict our kickers output.

Thankfully someone out there already does this for us……Vegas. Vegas has a vested interest in predicting scores as accurately as possible using experts, analysis and statistics. So if we’re going to use scoring as a basis for our predictions why not use data from Vegas to create what I’m calling the Kicker Predictatron©

Here’s how it works. I’ve taken the weekly lines from Vegas (that’s the expected total number of points scored in the game). Applied the spread to each team (the points start (for the underdog) or the points handicap (for the favourites)) and then used the most likely scoring output for a kicker based on NFL scores dating back to 1970. I’ve also used the historical scoring to determine a kicker points per point ratio and this gives us our final prediction range.

e.g. If a team is predicted to score 17 points by Vegas then the most likely makeup of the 17 points is 2 touchdowns + 2 extra points + 1 field goal. Therefore our kicker would be expected to score 5 points.

Here’s how the Kicker Predictatron© did for Weeks 6 and 7 and finally a prediction for Week 8. Note the names of kickers have been masked to protect the innocent!

Let me know what you think!

NFL Team Week 6 Week7  Week 8
Prediction Actual Prediction Actual Prediction
Arizona ARI 9-4 7 10-6 8 9-4
Atlanta ATL 12-9 3 12-9 4 10-6
Baltimore BAL 8-5 8 5-5 4 17-9
Buffalo BUF 6-4 3 8-5 11
Carolina CAR 4-2 3 10-8 9 12-9
Chicago CHI 8-6 14 0 7-3
Cincinnati CIN 8-6 10 0 10-8
Cleveland CLE 6-4 5 9-5 6 6-4
Dallas DAL 0 13-6 8 9-5
Denver DEN 8-5 14 0 8-6
Detroit DET 9-8 13 10-7 7 6-4
Green Bay GBP 11-10 9 0 10-8
Houston HOU 13-6 7 6-4 2 10-8
Indianapolis IND 6-4 3 12-9 3 10-5
Jacksonville JAC 8-5 2 10-5 4
Kansas City KCC 6-4 4 8-5 11 9-4
Miami MIA 8-6 8 9-8 10 6-4
Minnesota MIN 8-5 10 8-6 20 11-7
New England NEP 11-10 10 10-6 12 11-10
New Orleans NOS 8-6 7 10-7 3 9-4
NY Giants NYG 10-7 1 10-8 9 10-7
NY Jets NYJ 9-4 10 5-5 13 8-5
Oakland OAK 0 8-6 13 7-3
Philadelphia PHI 17-9 9 8-6 12
Pittsburgh PIT 5-5 15 13-6 7 11-7
San Diego SDC 9-5 8 9-4 7 11-7
San Francisco SFO 8-6 15 9-5 3 6-4
Seattle SEA 9-4 13 9-4 8 9-8
St. Louis STL 0 9-4 6 17-9
Tampa Bay TBB 0 13-6 12 6-4
Tennessee TEN 8-5 4 6-4 1 6-4
Washington WAS 7-4 10 8-5 7

View From The Pit 2015 – week 7

Week 7 marks half way in the EFFL regular season – whether you are in the black or the red this week, there is still time to make the playoffs. Even Earthquakes, who had our worst start to the season, are now joined in their misery by the Pirates, Tigers, 69ers and 187s on 2-4. This season is very far from done. Rab might be top of the pile with his Panthers on 5-1 but that can all change – lets get things started with a wee bit of good ol’ heavy rock to pick your spirits up if you are on the wrong end of 2-4, as the man says, ‘I’m down but I’m not defeated’

Lets start with our league leaders up against an old enemy

Panthers at 69ers

5-1 Pilton Panthers, who hope to extend their 5 game winning streak, face off against the 2-4 SanFran-Gordon 69ers at Castle Greyskull.

Panthers were led in week 6 by a 28.12 point effort from Philip Rivers. Pilton Panthers can expect a 19.25 point effort from Rivers in week 7

69ers were led in week 6 by a 19.60 point effort from Aaron Rodgers. With Rodgers on bye in week 7, they’ll need to count on their second-string QB to carry the team this week. In addition, Allen Robinson was not injured before the start of his week 6 game, and contributed 14.60 points, but he’s listed as questionable in week 7 due to an injured leg. SanFran-Gordon 69ers can expect a 11.44 point effort from Rob Gronkowski in week 7.

In the 2-year history of this rivalry, Pilton Panthers hold a 0-4-0 all-time series record against SanFran-Gordon 69ers. That’s right – Rab’s Panthers have never won against Richie. Richie is on a 4 game losing streak so he too is wanting this win bad. What do the numbers say? Well Richie will need to put a lot of the burden on Gronk’s broad shoulders as TE is pretty much the only position where he has a big advantage, Bills look a decent DST option this week too though. Elsewhere, Rab has the advantage, but its not so great as to be insurmountable. 69ers second tier QB, Matt Stafford is coming off a 30 point monster game, so perhaps its a good week for Rodgers to take his bye? Carlos Hyde has a chance too to get things started on Thursday night against a Hawks defense that is ranked number 1 in fantasy, but is 12th overall for actual points let in and is averaging 100 yds a game. Rab though has the 15+ pt averaging DeAndre Hopkins, against a pretty poor Dolphins defense, even away from home he could run wild.

The rankings say otherwise, but the pit has to go with the 69ers here, mainly for the sake of the rest of the league.

Next up it’s another non divisonal match up, the Fire was put out a bit last week, but those pirates are desperate to go marauding somewhere…

Fire at Pirates

4-2 Fife Fire play the 2-4 Tweedbank Pirates at Gun Knowe Stadium.
Fire were led in week 6 by a 19.76 point effort from Cam Newton, Fife Fire can expect a 20.49 point effort from Cam Newton in week 7.

Pirates were led in week 6 by a 27.98 point effort fromAndrew Luck, Tweedbank Pirates can expect a 15.88 point effort from Andrew Luck in week 7.

This is the first game between these two franchises in 2015, and is sure to be a game for the ages. Pirates DST get things going on thursday night – the Seahawks have been putting up some reasonable scores, but haven’t quite lived up to their #1 DST status. Fire look to be starting late with the bulk of their points coing in the sunday late and Monday night games, note that Shaun still needs to pick up a kicker. Pirates QB Luck came back strong last week and is #2 ranked for week 7 so that at least should be some points in the bag for Paul. In the other match ups its pretty even, Larry Fitzgerald for Fire being a bit of an exeption, as he’s predicted a big score. If Fire can pick up a lucky kicker and go for broke with their second string DST, this game could well be theirs.

However, the Pit goes with Paul’s Pirates this time, as Luck seems back in gear.

Avengers at Pickaxe

Shatner and Uhura are the closest of the divisions at just about half way, and this tussle could upset either of these teams chance at the playoffs

3-3 Kelsae Avengers challenge the 4-2 Nitten Pickaxe at New Victoria Park.
Avengers were led in week 6 by a 24.00 point effort from the Miami Dolphins Defensive Team. Jeremy Maclin was not injured before the start of his week 6 game, and contributed 4.80points, but he’s listed as questionable in week 7 due to a concussion. Kelsae Avengers can expect a 10.80 point effort from Sam Bradford in week 7.

Pickaxe were led in week 6 by a 27.60 point effort from Devonta Freeman. Nitten Pickaxe can expect a 18.69 point effort from Russell Wilson in week 7. GAv’s Pickaxe get stuck right in on Thursday night with a Seahawks foursome that should put a few points on the board even on a bad day. Stuarts Avengers take the laid back route – waiting till Monday to finish their scoring. Stuart really needs Megatron to have started a wee run – if he can build on a great game last week, that could eat into some of the Pickaxe early lead. Sam Bradford will surely outscore his 10.8 MFL prediction, though he has been a bigtshort on yards and long on picks so far this year.

This is the first game between these two franchises in 2015.

Avengers could do with this win as Uhura is so close, but the pit goes with the Pickaxe this time.

Bohemians at 187s

3-3 Earlstonian Bohemians play the 2-4 Kelso 187’s at Compton Palace. Bohemians lead Kirk Division, but are the only divisional leaders on 3 or fewer wins. 187s on the other hand have had 3 straight disasters, could this be the turnaround that must surely come?
Bohemians were led in week 6 by a 21.52 point effort from Andy Dalton. With Dalton on bye in week 7, they’ll need to count on their second-string QB to carry the team this week. In addition, Anquan Boldin was not injured before the start of his week 6 game, and contributed 10.20 points, but he’s listed as questionable in week 7 due to an injured hamstring , which might severely limit his fantasy production. Bohemians can expect a 12.18 point effort from Mark Ingram in week 7

187’s were led in week 6 by a 18.80 point effort from Matt Ryan. Kelso 187’s can expect a 17.53 point effort from Matt Ryan in week 7.

Euan’s 187s may have timed their assault on bohemia to perfection, with Dalton out and some injury worries for Coach ally. the match ups are pretty close, Ally with a lead on RBs but Euan with the wideouts. Boldonm could get the party started for the Bohemians on Thursday night, but 187s should clear those points in the early games on Sunday, Ally will be playing catch up from there and has to hope that last weeks star trade Gary ‘Barnstormer’ Barnidge continues his great run of form.

This is the first game between these two franchises in 2015, and is sure to be a hard-fought struggle. Inthe end though ,the Pit can’t see past Ryan Murray and Brown which should seal it for the 187s

Tigers at Jaguars

Another cat fight in the EFFL, this time it’s Nicky’s  Tigers vs last years champs the Jaguars.

2-4 Tranent Tigers face off against the 3-3 Jimmy’s Jerman Jaguars at Die Walküre Stadium
Tigers were led in week 6 by a 22.94 point effort from Blake BortlesEmmanuel Sanders was not injured before the start of his week 6 game, and contributed 16.90 points, but he’s listed as questionable in week 7 due to an injured shoulder. Tranent Tigers can expect a 13.77 point effort from Blake Bortles in week 7.

Jaguars were led in week 6 by a 22.48 point effort from Tom BradyKeenan Allen was not injured before the start of his week 6 game, and contributed 15.70 points, but he’s listed as questionable in week 7 due to an injured hip , which might severely limit his fantasy production. Jimmy’s Jerman Jaguars can expect a 18.00 point effort from Tom Brady in week 7.

Jimmy’s Jags have maybe had a tough time of it so far – they’ve been predicted big scores that just haven’t materialised, notably from Forsett and Jones. Jones is returning from a wee injury, so could see his tocuhes get a boost, whilst Forsett’s slightly lower than predicted scores are simply a TD drought, so that could all change with a wee bit of luck. Nicky has a bad habit of dropping folk just before their points explode, so he’ll be hoping that he’s held on to some of the current roster long enough this week, Adrian Peterson and Antonio Gates are the likely big guns this week – though points for TEs are notoriously all over the shop, the Raiders, however, have let in the most points to TE’s this season, so there’s hope for the Tigers.

This is the first game between these two franchises in 2015. It could go either way, but the stats in almost every postion point just towards the jags, so we’ll call it for Jimmy this time.

Earthquakes at Fog

2-4 Earlston Earthquakes challenge the 4-2 Fog on the Tyne at New St James Park.

The Quake are on a 2 game streak whilst Fog have 3 weeks under their belts. Fog are now leading the hard fought Uhura division, but the Avengers or Jaguars could challenge that if results go their way and against Stuart here. Quakes are looking to get off the bottom of Kirk division, and again that’s possible if the Pirates are sunk.

Earthquakes were led in week 6 by a 18.30 point effort fromDeMarco Murray. Earlston Earthquakes can expect a 18.38 point effort from Carson Palmer in week 7.

Fog were led in week 6 by a 17.72 point effort from Joe Flacco. Fog on the Tyne can expect a 15.45 point effort from Joe Flacco in week 7

Phil Dawson will be kicking to lead the Earthquakes charge here, and has a decent chance at points if the 49ers can get the ball moving but struggle to reach the endzone. That’s a distinct possibility and although he’s predicted 5 points, I can see it being more like 5 or 12, not a lot in between. Other than that the bright spots in the quakes lineup are all at RB, where they have a reasonable chance of 15 points each. Fog’s Marshall, Smith and Cooper WR Trio will almost certainly dominate that area of the matchups.

Earlston Earthquakes hold a 1-3-0 all-time series record against Fog on the Tyne. This game could be pretty close, but this time the Pit is going for the quakes.

that’s yer lot for week 7

Learning from the Losers

I think a timely reblog for this article as we reach that critical point in your fantasy season

Earlston Fantasy Football League

“Once you hear the details of victory, it is hard to distinguish it from a defeat.”
Jean-Paul Sartre

Like most circumstances in life it’s easy to look at the winners, marvel at their good luck, excellent strategy and vow to follow their successful formula next time. But like gamblers falling for a survivor pool scam we can sometimes be led into trying to create strategies from something that can’t be recreated.

The lessons the victors give us are easy to understand; pick good players, play them every week and scan the waiver wire to pick up more good players and manage your team to success. Yes that sounds like there’s a bit of luck involved, and of course we all need that to win a championship, but we shouldn’t underplay the work required to build a playoff team. However, it’s the lessons we learn in defeat and from the defeated that…

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Waivers on MFL

I’ve had a few questions about waivers on the MFL site so here’s a quick reminder on how to go about making your picks. At the moment I’d say there is a 50-50 split of who actually understands how it works. In order to save us all from further embarrassment here’s a simple guide of how to go about it.

Waivers in MFL should be more intuitive than the NFL site as they follow the process you should all be familiar with from the draft. Each week the waiver order is decided by the reverse order of standings (i.e. worst to first) and similar to the draft, waivers is divided into rounds. There are 4 rounds of waivers which means you can select a maximum of four players or none if you so wish. Unlike the draft you aren’t present to select players as your turn comes around so the waiver screen allows you to input options to help you pick up the players you’re tracking. Lets work through an example.

This week I’ve decided that I need to make wholesale changes to my team and need help at QB, WR, TE and RB. Waiver pickings are thin so I really need to make sure I pick up all my selections.

The first thing I need to do is order my players by importance. By doing this it means I can prioritise the player I really want first and then if someone else picks them I can ensure I pick up my second one…..and so on.

My waiver selections for this week in order of priority are:-
WR Stefon Diggs
TE Ben Watson
RB Brandon Oliver
QB Jay Cutler
Here’s how to input those selections to the league site to ensure the best chance of picking up those players

waivers
Note how i’ve ordered the selections within the first round. Basically what i’m saying to the waiver autopick is I want Stefon Diggs. If he’s there drop Anquan Boldin. If he isn’t pick up Ben Watson and drop Boldin. My next selection is basically a repeat of my first selection except this time I’m requesting Watson but dropping Barnridge…but why? This is because I’m going to use this order in the second round as well. It means if I’m lucky enough to pick up Diggs in the first round because I’ve dropped Boldin I couldn’t pick up Watson because I’d already dropped Boldin…..still with me? Basically I walking through all the scenarios trying to ensure I’ve a request that can be fulfilled in each round.

Of course I’ve only identified 4 players, but lets say I really need a QB. Well that’s simple- list each one you want. Cutler first, Fitzpatrick second, Kaepernick third and if really desperate then Stafford.Always keep in mind that if someone picks your player he won’t be there when it gets to you. The screenshot is from the PC version of the site. On the ipad your options list is hidden and appears as a single bar, if you click on it you should see your order as shown above. When you’re finished hit save and repeat for the next 3 rounds. Personally I go through all my scenarios in the first round and then copy through to the subsequent ones. You don’t need to do this as your top choice will never need to appear in the second round….but I find it easier to copy through rather than individually tailor each round.

View from the Pit 2015 – week 6

Week 5 is done, leaving us with some clear winners and losers – Rab’s Panthers and Rookie Shaun’s Fire leading the way on 4-1 – although reassuringly for the rest of us they’ve got the two lowest points against scores – meaning that they may have lucked out a bit and could both beatable with a good week. On that note 69ers coach Richie might feel a bit hard done by with over 500 points in the bag but on 2-3, whilst at least scoring leader Jimmy is slightly in the black on 3-2. Its all about having your big bursts and not your big busts in the right week – so lets see how that looks for week 6.

There’s no divisional and no’top vs bottom’ games this week so lets start with a bottom table clash, a must win for both of these teams if they want to move towards those divisional titles.

Soundtrack for this week is this, losing by a drop is still eating me up 2 weeks later!

Earthquakes at 187s

1-4 Earlston Earthquakes play the 2-3 Kelso 187’s at Compton Palace.
Earlston Earthquakes were led in week 5 by a 18.34 point effort from Carson Palmer, Allen Hurns contributed 17.60points, but he’s listed as questionable in week 6 due to an injured ankle , which might severely limit his fantasy production. Earthquakes can expect a 16.88 point effort from Carson Palmer.

Kelso 187’s were led in week 5 by a 18.00 point effort from Julian Edelman, Euan can expect a 19.48 point effort from Matt Ryan in week 6.

This is the first game between these two franchises in 2015, and is sure to be a hard-fought struggle. Earthquakes may have started to get the earth moving last week but those 187s are eager for blood. Quakes have the better options at RB, but Euan’s WR team could be the weapon here, none of them are predicted above a 12 on MFL but surely there will be 2 tds between the 3 of them? Earthquakes benefited from their lowly record midweek when they picked up the only waiver worth having in Charcarick West, if he does become the starter that could turn Cozy’s season around, but that’s not guaranteed. Other back upbacks have taken their chance and nailed it this year so that 8.2 projection could be way off.

The pit predictor sees the quakes winning this one.

There’s also a top table clash

Jaguars at Panthers

3-2 Jimmy’s Jerman Jaguars face off against the 4-1 Pilton Panthers at Pilton Park.

Jaguars were led in week 5 by a 25.30 point effort from Tom BradyJustin Forsett was not injured before the start of his week 5 game, and contributed 23.00 points, but he’s listed as questionable in week 6 due to an injured ankle, which might severely limit his fantasy production. Jaguars can expect a 18.08 point effort from Tom Brady in week 6

Panthers were led in week 5 by a 33.80 point effort from Doug Martin, With Martin on bye in week 6, they’ll need to count on their second-string RB to carry the team this week.  Jamaal Charles is now on the injured reserve, which will prevent him from contributing at all this week. Panthers can expect a 17.92 point effort from Philip Rivers in week 6.

In the 2-year history of this rivalry, Jimmy’s Jerman Jaguars hold a 3-0-0 all-time series record against Pilton Panthers. Panthers have started weel, but meeting a potemtial high scorer like the jimmy’s Jags in the week you lose a first round pick and have your QB on a bye is bad timing in the extreme. Jimmys high average hides the fact that he’s had ups and downs, with 2 of the lowest scores as well as three of the highest – Rab has to hope that the symmetry of the graph will win out – which would lead to a low week for the Jags, but the pit cannot see that happening, its a win for the Jags.

The rest of our games are all more mid table tussles – with chances to leapfrog in most divisions if results go your way:

Tigers at Bohemians

2-3 Tranent Tigers sit at the bottom of the hard fought Shatner Division and challenge the 2-3 Earlstonian Bohemians at Bohemian Park. Bohemians are mid table thanks to the Earthquakes poor early form, but still need this game to go their way.
Tranent Tigers were led in week 5 by a 15.60 point effort from Ryan Mathews, w James Jones was not injured before the start of his week 5 game, and contributed 13.70 points, but he’s listed as questionable in week 6 due to an injured hamstring , which might severely limit his fantasy production. Tigers can expect a 15.2 point effort from Adrian Peterson in week 6.

Earlstonian Bohemians were led in week 5 by a 20.60 point effort fromPhilip Rivers, Odell Beckham was not injured before the start of his week 5 game, and contributed 18.40 points, but he’s listed as questionable in week 6 due to an injured hamstring , which might severely limit his fantasy production. Bohemians can expect a 18.2 point effort from Andy Dalton in week 6.

This is the first game between these two franchises in 2015, and is sure to be a hard-fought struggle. Mark Ingram kicks things off tonight for Coach Ally, and could be in line for some big numbers. Tigers wait till Sunday but are predicted a slow and steady rise to the top. Bohos really need Beckam to be fully fit to stand a chance, though midweek TE trade Barnidge is getting loads of good press, and could be a secret weapon. This game looks to be going Nicky’s way – and though its possible that the boho dark horses will steal it – we’ll go with the data this time and plum[p for the tigers.

 

Pickaxe at Pirates

3-2 Nitten Pickaxe in the middle of Shatner divison face off against  2-3 Tweedbank Pirates who are leading Kirk despite their slightly deficit record.
Pickaxe were led in week 5 by a 25.70 point effort from Devonta Freeman. Nitten Pickaxe can expect a 14.64 point effort from Russell Wilson in week 6.

Pirates were led in week 5 by a 17.58 point effort from Jay CutlerCharles Clay was not injured before the start of his week 5 game, and contributed 0.70 points, but he’s listed as questionable in week 6 due to an injured calf , which might severely limit his fantasy production. Tweedbank Pirates can expect a 16.58 point effort from Andrew Luck in week 6.

In the 2-year history of this rivalry, Nitten Pickaxe hold a 1-1-0 all-time series record against Tweedbank Pirates. Pirates need some luck for Luck this weekend, if that doesn’t happen it could be game over before it starts, but Peyton Manning was swept off his feet from the waivers by those rampaging Pirates midweek, and could come to the rescue? On the Pickaxe side, their are more worries for Marshawn Lynch, but Rawls did a decent job filling in last week – it will be much more of a problem if Lynch is mark as playing but sees his snaps limited. Added to that, can Devonta Freeman’s run of form continue? perhaps not at the levels he’s had but Ivory is back form a bye so there should eb no issues at RB for coach Gav, WR is where the games will turn, Desean Jackson could even return – both coaches need some receiving action to win this game.

Pickaxe get an early start tonight to avoid some pirate broadsides, and the predictor goes with tonight’s lead to stay put till Monday morning when it will all be over.

 

69ers at Avengers

2-3 SanFran-Gordon 69ers hope to end their 3 game losing streak, face off against the 2-3 Kelsae Avengers at Samuel Sawyer Memorial Park.69ers have a high scoring rate but have come up against some of the best scores in the league, Avengers may need to up their game to win this one
69ers were led in week 5 by a 19.20 point effort from Allen Robinson. In addition, Isaiah Crowell was not injured before the start of his week 5 game, and contributed 14.70 points, but he’s listed as questionable in week 6 due to an injured toe , which might severely limit his fantasy production.  SanFran-Gordon 69ers can expect a 20.26 point effort from Aaron Rodgers in week 6.

Avengers were led in week 5 by a 17.62 point effort from Sam Bradford,  T.J. Yeldon was not injured before the start of his week 5 game, and contributed 12.30 points, but he’s listed as questionable in week 6 due to an injured groin , which might severely limit his fantasy production. Kelsae Avengers can expect a 14.7 point effort from Calvin Johnson in week 6.

This is the first game between these two franchises in 2015, and is sure to be a hard-fought struggle. Neither team starts tonight and this game is predicted to be a bit of give and take tussle with play spread out across all times on Sunday and Monday games. Both teams are evenly matched with avengers having the lead in RB but 69ers a slight WR advantage. Coach Stuart has not had the best start to his rookie year and is yet to break 100 pts. That could happen this week – all it takes is for a few plays to go the right way. With such an evenly paced game the Gronk could come to the rescue for Richie – with a predicted double digit score he’s in his own leage as a TE – and the Pit predictor has to go with that.

 

Fire at Fog

4-1 Fife Fire, who hope to extend their 3 game winning streak, face off against the 3-2 Fog on the Tyne at New St James Park.
Fire were led in week 5 by a 20.00 point effort from the Denver Broncos Defensive Team. Fife Fire can expect a 18.8 point effort from Le’Veon Bell in week 6.

Fog  were led in week 5 by a 22.36 point effort from Tyrod Taylor, BFog on the Tyne can expect a 16.92 point effort from Joe Flacco in week 6.

This is the first game between these two franchises in 2015, and is sure to be a game for the ages. Rookie Shaun is off to a flyer – he tasted defeat in week 2 and didn’t like it. With Le’veon Bell in action every week its almost like 20 points in the bank before you even start, but he’s up against a tough Cards defense this week, so could be stopped.Fog need to get some points from unlikely sources to put out that Fire – Stuart needs both TE Eifert to get back to his 22 pt week 1 stats and also a big game from highly ranked kicker Justin Tucker. Over the rest of the positions Shaun has the advantage – but only just. It may be TE Larry Donnel for the Giants that has to win the game for Fire – and no one wants to be relying on a TE whose name doesn’t start with G

The Pit is going to go with the Fog for this one, a bit of moisture to put out that fire – if only for the rest of the leagues sake!

 

that’s your lot follks

tampa bay superbowl defense in huddle

How to spot what a defense is doing….part 2

Last time on How to spot what a defense is doing we discussed the Cover 3 defense, one of the most popular defenses used at the High School and College level. This time I’ll look at the Cover 2. It’s a versatile shell that has both man and zone forms and I’ll try and explain how it’s key advantages and disadvantages work to defend an offense. I’ll also look at one of the most popular variants that’s just clinging to relevance in today’s NFL; the Tampa 2.

Cover 2

The basic form of the Cover 2 is a zonal defense which like the Cover 3 has four defenders assigned to rush the quarterback and seven to defend the pass. The main difference between the 2 shells is that in Cover 2 the two safeties are responsible for defending deep zones splitting the field in half. The other five defenders are responsible for shorter zones (see image 1 below)

Cover 2- Jets at Miami (London)

Image 1- Cover 2 Jets at Miami (London)

This, of course, is an over simplification of the Cover 2 which can be an extremely versatile defense. If you look at the image above you can see one of the key advantages of the Cover 2 is the protection the 2 safeties provide to the short zone defenders. It allows the short zone defenders to be extremely aggressive in trying to force turnovers and support the run.

The other key advantage to Cover 2 is the ability of the defense to flood the shorter zones and make passes much more difficult. The “flats” (the areas behind the line of scrimmage near the sideline) are much better protected than in the Cover 3 with the presence of the cornerbacks close to the line of scrimmage.

In fact the cornerbacks are generally described as “hard corners” in Cover 2. This means they are relied upon to support the run more so than in Cover 3. Although the cornerbacks have responsibility for a short zone they are still key defenders against the deep pass. They must protect the safeties by forcing receivers inside and preventing completions to the 7 route (see image 2 below). This is of course opposite to where they want to route receivers in the Cover 3.

route tree

Image 2- Wide Receiver route tree

As I’ve discussed above the Cover 2 is an extremely versatile and strong defense, but it also has some key weaknesses that can be exploited and it’s one of the key reasons why the “vanilla” version of the defense is rarely seen at the higher levels.

The most obvious disadvantage is the weakness between the two safeties in the deep middle of the field (coloured yellow on image 3) and the 2 flag routes (or 7 routes) behind the outside short zones and in front of the two deep zones. This weak point is extremely vulnerable to “seam splitting” tight ends (essentially quick, athletic pass catching receivers) and becomes even more so when an offense has two dangerous deep threats on the outside.

image showing the weak point between the 2 deep zones

Image 3- Cover 2 weak point

The second weakness of the Cover 3 is the number of defenders near the line of scrimmage to defend the run (seven as opposed eight in Cover 3). Off-tackle runs are also a particular problem for Cover 2 defenses (reliance on smaller cornerbacks to “seal the edge” i.e. take on lead blockers and stop runs heading to the sideline). The third major weakness is the reliance on the 4 rushers to generate pressure on the passer. Blitzes are rare (and dangerous) in Cover 2.

With that said the Cover 2 is not a defense that has stood still. A number of evolution’s of the basic defense have taken place which adapt the basic advantages and protect the weaknesses of the Cover 2.

Tampa 2

The Tampa 2 defense made famous by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers SuperBowl winning team in the late 90s was resurrected to hide the weaknesses of the Cover 2. Originally created by Bud Carson (defensive coordinator for the Steelers) in the 1970s where he used future Hall of Famer Jack Lambert to drop deeper into the centre of the field to help the safeties. This in turn allowed the safeties to concentrate more on defending the weak sidelines and allowed the rest of the defenders to play more aggressively. An example of the Tampa 2 is shown in image 3 below. As you can probably see it’s very close in design to Cover 3.

image showing the tampa 2 defense

Image 3- Tampa 2

The Tampa 2 evolved as an antidote to the proliferation of short timing route offenses, but as defenses evolve so do offenses. Today the number of offenses using 3 and 4 receiver sets has almost assigned the Tampa 2 to the history books.

Our second adaptation of the Cover 2 is

Cover 2 Man

Cover 2 Man is an adaptation of the basic underneath zone coverage of the Cover 2 where the safeties provide deep help and the underneath defenders match up with receivers in man to man coverage. This allows a number of advantages to the defense including the ability to use blitzes and double coverage (2 defenders to a single receiver).  It also allows defenders to “bump or press” receivers at the line of scrimmage (this is effective in disrupting timing). However it has a significant weakness in defending the run and exposing linebackers against good receiving running backs.

image showing cover 2 man coverage

Image 4- Cover 2 Man

So how do you spot the Cover 2 defense?

The first key is position of the two safeties. They’ll naturally take up positions near the hash marks and be at least 10-15 yards back from the line of scrimmage.

The second key is the positioning of the two cornerbacks. Generally they’ll take an outside position to the receivers (back towards sideline or head facing QB) and will attempt to delay the receiver at the line of scrimmage. If they’re in a man scheme they’ll immediately take up tight coverage and try to force receivers outside rather than inside if they’re in a zonal scheme. Of course motion by receivers will usually identify a man scheme pre-snap.

For the Tampa 2 the linebacker allocated the middle zone will become an additional key read. On pass plays they will immediately take a deep drop towards the centre of the field in an effort to protect the weak point in the defense.

That’s the end of our second article on defensive coverage shells. Next time we’ll look at man-to-man schemes such Cover 1 and Cover 0.

View from the Pit 2015 week 5

Week 5 – A whole month down and just 9 weeks to go. A couple of early leaders on 3-1 but a lot of mid table tussles with teams on 2-2.

Our high scoring heroes from the early rounds, jags and 69ers both took a wee tumble in week 4 and the rest of the league breathes a sigh of relief as scores get a bit back to normal. The pit predictor had a bit of an off week last time with just 2 picks, so the pressure is on for week 5. Maybe I was too excited for NFL London, who knows. A jets win pleased most of our crowd with practically no Dolphins in the league, even if the game was a bit error strewn and lacklustre. We need to soundtrack for the week, and what better than the hard to find Jets anthem – warning – this is so bad it appears to have been deleted from many corners of the web – but here it is in all it’s glory:

Divisional:

Kirk – Pirates at Earthquakes

The 2-2 Tweedbank Pirates play the 0-4 (!!) Earlston Earthquakes at The Cauldie.Pirates can expect a 16.96 point effort from Andrew Luck in week 5, a little less than the predicted 18.32 point effort from Carson Palmer for Earthquakes. Elsewhere in the matchup, Cozy’s RB team have a small advantage with the wideouts being equally matched. All in all this will be a close run thing, in terms of yards even if not td’s.

In week 3, Pirates wons by 26.26 points, so coach Cozy is looking for revenge this week. In the 3-year history of this rivalry, Tweedbank Pirates hold a 2-3-0 all-time series record against Earlston Earthquakes.

The tide has to turn for Cozy at some point, surely? So with a couple of bonus td’s and a shortage for Paul this should to go his way? Cozy has to wait as although the Earthquakes cram their points in on Sunday, Pirates spread themselves all over the weekend.

Shatner: Tigers at Pickaxe

2-2 Tranent Tigers play the 2-2 Nitten Pickaxe at New Victoria Park.
With Peterson on bye in week 5, Tigers need to count on their second-string RBs to carry the team this week.  that could be ok though as Pickxe’s Chris Ivory is also resting up this week. Tigers can expect a 18.72 point effort from Peyton Manning at QB, and he’ll need at least that to cover the loss of Peterson

Nitten Pickaxe can expect a 15.6 point effort from Demaryius Thomas and again coach Gav will want at least that with a severe lack of other top tier wides. Chris Ivory could be a big loss, but will  coach Nicky be choking on his Frosties with former Tiger Devonta Freeman on the books – he’s had 70 points and 6 TDs in 2 weeks for Pickaxe

In week 2, Tranent Tigers defeated Nitten Pickaxe by 45.90 points, so coach Gav is looking for revenge this week. In the 2-year history of this rivalry, Tranent Tigers hold a 2-1-0 all-time series record against Nitten Pickaxe. The Pit prediction is for the Pickaxe to even this rivalry right out.

TJ Hooker – Fire at 69ers

3-1 Fife Fire challenge the 2-2 SanFran-Gordon 69ers at Castle Greyskull.

Fife Fire can expect a 20.1 point effort from Le’Veon Bell in week 5, but it will be TY Hilton who gets some points on the board on thursday night – that game could set the tone for this match up – if Hilton has a flyer then Coach Richie will be playing a very long game of catch up, as Bell doesn’t go till Monday night.

SanFran-Gordon 69ers can expect a 20.32 point effort from Aaron Rodgers in week 5, and they’ll need it too. Gronk is number one ranked TE this week (what else is new) and that will give Richie a boost, but elsewhere on the niner’s roster this week Fire seem to have the edge.

Both teams have the ability to play pretty highly ranked players at all positions, and this could be a high scoring game – but with high scores comes the unpredictability of TDs, so this is a hard game to call, Fire need to pick up a kicker too, don’t forget or you’ll face an automatic loss.

In week 2, SanFran-Gordon 69ers defeated Fife Fire by 13.46 points, I suspect this week the winner could be by 5o+points, but who will it be – too hard to call, but I’ll go for Fire.

UHURA – Jaguars at Avengers

2-2 Jimmy’s Jerman Jaguars face off against the 2-2 Kelsae Avengers at Samuel Sawyer Memorial Park.
Arian Foster was not injured before the start of his week 4 game, and contributed 1.50 points, but he’s listed as questionable in week 5 due to an injured groin, which might severely limit his fantasy production, Coach Jimmy needs to keep his eyes open on that one as he’s scheduled to play Thursday night too.

Kelsae Avengers can expect a 14 point effort from Calvin Johnson in week 5, who’s not quite lived up to last years numbers but is still a must start wide receiver. He’ll have to pick up his game if he’s to challenge Julio Jones for the Jags.

This is the first game between these two franchises in 2015, and is sure to be a classic showdown. Jimmy didn’t get his name on the trophy for nothing and coach Stuart may be about to find that out, he’s behind in all positions except Eddie Lacy according the the Fantasy pros ECR this week – its hard to bet against the Jags with those stats, but most positions are close and the pit is calling this one for the Avengers.

Non Divisional

187s at Panthers

2-2 Kelso 187’s face off against the 3-1 Pilton Panthers at Pilton Park.

Kelso 187’s can expect a 18.72 point effort from Matt Ryan in week 5, but that wont be the highlight here, Euan has 3 of the top ten ranked wideouts this time around and that could really set the bar high for the Panthers. However, Pilton Panthers can expect a 17.2 point effort from Jamaal Charles, with Doug Martin not far behind in terms of yardage, he only needs a TD or 2 to bring Rab right back in it.

Rab may have a couple of weapons in the non glory roster spots of Kicker and DST where he has a good ranking lead over Euan,.

This is the first game between these two franchises in 2015, and looks like being close, Euan looks like he will be chasing Monday night, but if you are chasing you want someone with a huge ceiling like Antonio Brown – the pit goes with the 187s this time.

Bohemians at Fog

2-2 Earlstonian Bohemians challenge the 2-2 Fog on the Tyne at New St James Park.

Earlstonian Bohemians can expect a 18.32 point effort from Philip Rivers in week 5, who is expected to do well against the  Steelers defense, but that’s Monday night so Coach Ally has to wait. elsewhere Fantasy Sharks has both his RBs in the teens, way more than either of Fogs, Fantasy pros has the ranks the other way around though – so don’t count any chickens just yet .

Fog on the Tyne can expect a 15.78 point effort from Tyrod Taylor in week, who’s coming off a slightly slow week, so might be itching to get back in the 20’s. MFL has that pretty much coach Stuarts only chance to make over the regulation 10 points, but that simply cannot be right – there’s chances for points all over Stuart’s team, most obviously perhaps if the Ravens get going against Cleveland with both the DST and Kicker suiting up for Fog.

In the 2-year history of this rivalry, Earlstonian Bohemians hold a 2-0-0 all-time series record against Fog on the Tyne. Coach Stuart must surely want to get one back – but can it happen, yes, but on this occasion, the pit predictor sees the Bohos as the victors

That’s all for this week folks. Those of you with a masochistic streak can seek out the other pepsi anthems from a few years back – the official versions of all the tracks have been wiped from the face of the web, but they are all lurking in dark corners – there’s at least another 6 to find