Brain and Braun
is an article written by two self-proclaimed experts on Triskaidekaphobia, potato pancakes, and Fantasy Football; Tom Braun (the Braun) and Chris Dolfi (the Brain). This is normally the part where we share with you the magazines, radio stations, and expert leagues we’ve played in…we won’t waste your time. Bottom line, when it comes to Fantasy Football, let us share the idiot mistakes we’ve witnessed (and made) in the past, and throw in some of the info that has worked for us.
The following is a conversation that actually took place at
, this past Monday night watching the Broncos / Ravens game in the slop, documented for you. (None of the names have been changed to protect anyone…like any good
tramp, they figure any publicity is good publicity.)
Braun: Dolf, we’re five weeks in and no matter where I look, a lot of owners have the same problem…
Dolfi: Hold on Braun, I think I know what you are going to ask, and I have the answer for you; try eating a high fiber diet and cut down on the cheese.
Braun: Um….no…..the question is one I see everywhere. Let me give and example, on a roster, a guy has a clear #1 QB, two RBs that are clear-cut starters, and four WRs – all of which anyone would consider equal. Now “Murphy’s Law” dictates that he’ll start his two or three, and whoever he leaves on the bench has a 15-20 point day.
Dolfi: Oh yeah – we’ve all been there, Pally.
Braun: Make us all better owners…how do you avoid that trap?
Dolfi: There is no way to completely eliminate picking the wrong guy on wrong week…that’s part of the game…
Dolfi: You can certainly put yourself in a position to be right more often than wrong.
Braun: How so?
Dolfi: This is where doing your homework on your players really pays off, and that doesn’t just mean looking up their stats from last week, or even their season to date stats. It involves:
1) Looking at a stat that the average person doesn’t look at all the time; “Targets”.
2) Looking at the matchups for each of those players.
3) Looking at what kind of a streak the players are currently riding.
4) Looking at any other intangibles that could possibly affect you players’ performances.
Greaaaat… more lists.
Dolfi: (laughter) Ah, shut yer’ pie-hole – you love Fantasy football; which means you love lists. Draft lists, injury lists…
Braun: Ok, ok…..so by “target”, you mean how often a player gets the ball thrown their way?
Dolfi: Exactly. But it’s not just passes near that player; it really looks at how many times a play was supposed to go to that player. That means if the QB was trying to throw to a player, and got popped from behind – that receiver was still “targeted”, it just ended up being a busted play.
Braun: Well, where can I get that info….it’s not like I have access to Nick Saban’s play list?
Dolfi: With a little digging you can probably find a site who’s numbers you trust, but I’ll give you a couple to get you started.
footballdiehards I really like that particular site, because not only do they show you the amount of times the players was targeted, but how many receptions the player had, giving you a nice little percentage of just how successful his team was in actually getting the ball into his hands.
Yahoo has another popular one that I’ve seen people mention as well; you can see this week’s Yahoo target report at
. They are actually a little more in depth than FootballDiehards.com is, giving you some more verbal predictions on not just the touches, but also how likely they are to continue getting a similar amount in the future.
Give them both a try, and look for some others, and you’ll find which work best for you. I personally use BOTH of the sites above, because “targets” can be a very subjective number at times, so I like to look at more than one set of numbers and figure the true number is more likely an average of two (or more) sites.
Braun: Ok – that was a lot of info to digest, and I’ll like to say I’ll remember it, but after that tobogganing accident last year with the Swedish Bikini Team, my memory isn’t all that great. Heck, if it wasn’t for all of the cushioning, I might have been killed.
Dolfi: (coughs) (laughter) (coughs) (coughs) Not while I’m drinking!!
Braun: Just wanted to make sure you were still awake – you have been know to put yourself to sleep, you know.
Dolfi: Hey! You asked the question, I’m just trying to answer it!
Braun: Just bustin’ ya, man. Get back on topic now. What about looking at match-ups? Don’t most fantasy guys do that already?
Dolfi: Most fantasy guys TRY to look at match-ups, they just don’t always look as much in depth as they should.
Braun: Do tell…
Dolfi: Ok, first of all, don’t go on what that defense has done ‘traditionally’ – just because the Steelers *always* have a good D, doesn’t mean it’s true this year, at least not against the pass. Thinking like that means jack; you really have to look into the stats. See how they rank defending against the pass, the run, overall, and in scoring. The numbers can really tell you something. For example, the Patriots D ranks #16 overall, giving up over 300 yards a game, and even worse against the pass (#24 – and giving up 222 yards of passing a game), BUT they have the #7 scoring D, giving up only 2 TDs a game on the average. That tells me that my WR going up against them might have a decent game yardage wise, but with the D giving up only 2 TDs, he might not be a good bet to get one of them.
Braun: So it’s more than just the quick look at who the opponent is.
Braun: Ok, you also spoke about streaks and other intangibles….is this where you look at your crystal ball and throw chicken bones on the floor?
Dolfi: (laughter) Only if I happen to be in my league playoffs, but that is another article for another time.
Dolfi: By streaks I mean, very simply (without over thinking anything), is the player hot or is the player cold. If two of the WR that you are trying to decide between have similar numbers for the season, but the first guy racked up his points in the first two weeks and then disappeared in the last three games, and the other WR had a goose-egg in week one, but followed that up with four solid games in a row, it’s never bad to think about playing the hot hand.
Braun: Makes sense…..and intangibles?
Dolfi: This just refers to any other things that can affect the performance besides the player themselves.
Braun: Oh yeah….like if you are playing in San Fran, there could possibly be an earthquake?
Dolfi: You’re ridiculous… but actually kind of right. What I really meant was that I’d check the weather forecasts for your games. Take a look at the weather in the city where the player will be playing; sloppy conditions typically mean sloppy play, and fantasy numbers. Is the venue in a dome? As we all know, a windy day can affect throws, but when I last checked, most domes don’t have a wind machine.
Braun: Well, the superdome did have a hole, but they fixed that before this year.
Dolfi: (laugher) Right. Heck, even look at the players’ demeanor and state of mind. When a guy like T.O. calls out his starting QB and offensive coaching staff, maybe he gets even LESS looks, the following week.
Braun: Well, I see now that there is a heck of a lot more to look at then just the matchups on who I should play.
Dolfi: Braun, bottom line is; if you really want to help yourself, you have to take a little extra time and do these things. Sometimes it goes a long way, but then again, anything can happen, this is just some stuff to help you.
Braun: Thanks Dolf, you’re a real friend.
Dolfi: Of course I am. Hey, did I tell you I got some inside info about LaDanian Tomlinson from a friend who’s the assistant to the team doctor? Looks like he’s out for the season… but I’ll take him off your hands if you want.
Braun: Ok – I take it all back. But you did make your point about doing my homework, and I’ll keep your four points in mind.
Dolfi: Trust me – doing your homework always helps, even for someone who spends most of their time in the Assistant Principal’s office, like you. And you can take that to the bank…