You want to know the most overrated content on fantasy websites?
Projections. For the most part, utterly useless.
We're talking about a computer system spitting out numbers here, and even if they're calculated, they're flawed for a reason that most casual fantasy players don't even realize. What's the difference between your typical No. 1 and No. 3 wide receivers? Well, sure, Steve Smith probably catches 20 or 30 more ypg than Donald Driver, but he's going to score a lot too if Jake Delhomme comes out of his coma. But what probabilities does RoboProjector use when forecasting scoring? I doubt it's analyzing matchups with opposing cornerbacks and changing philosophies, things that make the difference between the guy that the computer projects to score and the player it doesn't.
Use your own analysis, use ours, or use the rankings from reliable websites. What matters is catches, targets and matchups. Those are what truly forecast scoring, and ultimately, who falls in where as far as the best players from week to week.
- Every week we stare at the screen like cavemen trying to make lineup decisions for the most effective scoring, and then agonize over the choices all Sunday long. Being fortunate enough to have good options at my flex this week, here's a step-by-step process of choosing and ranking Mike Bell, Derrick Ward, Nate Burleson and Eddie Royal, all guys who I feel are serviceable No. 2 RBs or WRs this week. (Note that I may be eating crow as I actually write this seeing how Bell already has 40 total yards in the 1st Quarter.)
- Derrick Ward - This is the guy sharing the most touches of any of these guys, so why choose him? Sure, Cadillac Williams looked real good last week. But money makes the world go round, and these things matter in football. The Bucs just gave him lots of Benjamins, and all for good reasons I've said before; he fits the zone-blocking system well, he can catch passes, etc. Fact is, all those things are still true, and he got several goal-line opportunities last week. Couple that with the fact that the Bills run defense is going to be hampered heavily by the loss of Paul Posluszny, who is a tackling machine. Eighty total yards with a good chance of scoring seems pretty good.
- Nate Burleson - Almost any ranking system you find will have this guy at the bottom of the four. I'm not buying it. Burleson got 11 targets last week to Houshmandzadeh's nine. I'm not saying that's going to always be the case all the time, but I wrote in my Fantasy Filmroom column that Hasselback noted his improvement over the off-season. His problem has never been production, it's been staying healthy. Five or six catches for 75 yards and a score looks good against the Niners seems reasonable.
- Mike Bell - This was a dicey situation for owners to approach this week. What was coming out of the Saints' mouths wasn't necessarily what seemed to be the likely scenario come Sunday. Then come kickoff time, the Saints activate Pierre Thomas. I feel sorry for Thomas owners who didn't look closer into this situation, because looking around, he's in some lineups due to that news, and was only activated for emergency duty more than likely. Bell is carrying the load and gets goal line carries. Sixty or seventy yards could be grinded out against the Philly defense, but chances of scoring are going to be tough. (Note: As I was finishing this, Bell scores. Insert crow in mouth.)
- Eddie Royal - Is the Cincinnati defense suddenly the Steel Curtain, or did Kyle Orton look real rough out there in the Broncos miracle last week? I'm going more with the latter. Still, I think that improves against a forgiving Browns defense. Marshall is probably back up to speed, so Royal becomes a No. option again. If Orton rebounds this week and shows he can run the offense smoothly I feel better about Royal.
- Chris Johnson, meanwhile, is having what is going to be one of the best fantasy games of the year. 280 yards helped by three TDs. If you have him in leagues that award bonuses you probably are winning this week even if you're starting Michael Vick and Travis Henry (non-jail leagues). It's the third quarter in a close game and he's got 50 points? Wow. I ranked Johnson No. 5 overall behind LT, but ahead of S-Jax and Michael Turner. Maybe No. 4 overall wasn't so bad, and I'm not just talking this week; his metrics for his runs were excellent for last season. It's going to be fun watching him this year.
- Chad OchoCinco is definitely going to be making defenses "kiss the baby" this year. Anyone who watched Hard Knocks got the impression that Chad looked healthy and was serious about rebounding. No one questions this guy's heart, if anything. 1,200+ yards along with eight touchdowns looks like at least a good bet with a healthy Carson Palmer, who could also turn out to be a good steal.
- As Matt Stafford throws into the heart of the Vikings defense for another INT, credit the Jets coaching for playing into the strengths of Mark Sanchez, who's looked great so far today. He's made throws down the field when he takes chances, but they've played it smart. The Meadowlands is incredibly loud, and it's been giving the Patriots problems on the other side of the ball. It's like NCAA Football a few years ago where your controller shakes and your receivers look confused like they've just seen Lady Gaga at the VMAs. Tom Brady is really missing Wes Welker today, and the Jets are throwing great blitz packages. The timing of the Patriots offense is off, and Darrelle Revis has been all over Randy Moss today, who can't get any separation.