Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Fantasy Football Sneaky Plays: Week 3 Edition

By Judson Warren

Peter Anthony Crisafi was at a crossroads.  He was too lazy to work for a living.  His hopes of playing cards for a living were dashed when he came to the sobering realization that he was no good at playing cards.  He could play a little pool, but how could he make enough money at his local pool hall to live on? Soon enough, people would recognize him as a hustler and he wouldn’t even be able to get a game.  He would have to travel around the country hustling unsuspecting people. What a glamorous lifestyle. Only one problem: he only played well on his home turf, Flambonis in New York City. Crisafi attributed his stellar play to this one special house cue. For some reason, it performed like it was made for him. The answer. Crisafi, as legend has it, stole his favorite cue from his favorite place and hit the road. He cut the cue in half and jointed it so that he could take it apart and put it back together. This move solved Crisafi’s problem. Now, he was able to hide the cue as he entered new establishments and, once assembled, his cue would appear like any humble house cue. (At this point in time, 99.9% of pool players used house cues. A custom cue was a dead give away of a hustler.) Crisafi became known as “Sneaky Pete,” a pool hustler who disguised his special cue and snuck up on unsuspecting marks.

It is with Peter Anthony Crisafi in mind that I present to you “Sneaky Plays: Week 3 Edition.” These players are intentionally off-the-wall and under the radar.  Please do not take these recommendations to mean that these players merit a start in all leagues and all formats. They do not. Like Crisafi’s cue, if you find yourself at a crossroads, use these players as a secret weapon and a way sneak up on your opponent.

Inglorious Bradford
Sam Bradford, STL QB vs. Dallas Cowboys

There was a lot of nervous excitement surrounding the St. Louis Rams beginning the 2013 season. With the loss of their bell cow running back and the addition of some talented rookies and free agents, no one quite knew what to expect from the youngest team in the NFL.  While the jury may still be out on the team as a whole, the verdict has been reached for fantasy purposes: this offense can move the ball and score points.  This offensive output can easily be attributed to the improved quarterback play of Sam Bradford. Bradford just recently found a cure for Jason Campbell Disease, a chronic condition where a young quarterback has to deal with a new Head Coach and/or Offensive Coordinator year after year after year. For the first time in his career, Bradford has the same Head Coach (Jeff Fischer), Offensive Coordinator (Brian Schottenheimer) and Quarterbacks Coach (Frank Cignetti) as last year. And the increased comfort level as resulted in some pretty solid numbers. Through the first two weeks of the 2013 season, Bradford averages 30 completions, 325.5 yards and 2.5 touchdowns per game. Couple these numbers with a Dallas defense that is 26th in the league against the pass (giving up 313.5 passing yards per game), and we have a recipe for a sneaky good game by Sam Bradford.
Prediction: 330 yards, 3 tds, 2 ints

The Joique Store
Joique Bell, DET RB vs. Washington Redskins

First of all let me say, if Reggie Bush is to miss this game or a significant part of it, Bell does not qualify as a “sneaky play.” He becomes a bona fide, no-brainer RB1. If for some reason he is still on your waiver wire, stop reading and go pick him up. If he is on your bench, stop reading and go put him in your starting line-up. I will wait… Good. Now even if Bush plays, Bell is still a very juicy option this week.  Let us start with the opposition. The Redskins defense is terrible against the run (last in the league at 201 yards/game). They made James Starks look like Bo Jackson in the first Tecmo Bowl (Man, Bo was fast in that game). Starks ran for 132 yards and a touchdown, not to mention LeSean McCoy’s 184 yards and touchdown in Week 1. Basically, this is the most favorable match-up of the week. The question is simply: Will Bell get enough touches to be fantasy-relevant? I say yes even if Bush plays the full game (which is never a certainty).  In Week 1, Bell tallied 92 total yards and two touchdowns on just 11 touches. In Week 2, 72 yards on 13 touches.  Okay granted, that’s a small sample size. How about 2012 with no Reggie Bush in town? Bell totaled 82 rushes for 414 yards (5.0 per rush) and had 54 receptions for 485 (9.3 per rec). Bell has proven he can be very effective when he gets his hands on the ball.
Prediction: 120 total yards, 1 td

Fight For Your Wright
Kendall Wright, TEN WR vs. San Diego Chargers

Q. Why would a pass catcher on the worst passing team in the NFL ever be recommended as a good fantasy play?
A. Bad advice
B. Misleading Statistics
C. The Match-Up

If you guessed C, you’re right! The San Diego Chargers are the worst passing defense in the league. They give up an astounding average of 375.5 yards a game. Even Jake Locker should be able to throw the ball on this unit. After a slow start to the season in Week 1, Wright got some rhythm going in Week 2.  He finished the game with  11 targets, 7 receptions, 54 yards and 1 touchdown (all led the team).  These stats may not be mind-blowing, but they are very respectable and repeatable.  
Prediction: 8 catches, 90 yards, 1 td

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