NFL PLAYERS FINISHING STRONG, PIVOT FOR PIVETTA, JESUS AGUILAR’S TRENDS

Knowledge Drop May 24, 2018 – Rod Woodson Edition* (#26)

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*Rod Woodson wore #26 for 17 Hall-of-Fame seasons. His 71 interceptions are third all-time; he ran back 12 of those for TDs, which is the most all-time. Woodson, who played college ball at Purdue, was an 11-time Pro-Bowl player.

TOP KNOWLEDGE — WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

TOP TEN END-OF-SEASON NFL PLAYERS AT EACH POSITION

It’s Not How You Start, It’s How You Finish

In Fantasy baseball, we put a lot of emphasis on second half stats. The belief we subscribe to is that a hot second half of the season will translate to at least a hot start this year.

In Fantasy football, there is an overlooked time of the season.  Typically the Fantasy playoffs start in Week 14 with generally half or fewer teams in the tournament. If you miss the playoffs, you’re likely not glued to the numbers as usual; if you are playing for a championship you’re only looking at the performances of players on the remaining teams.

We at Big Mac make it a point every summer to look at the top performers in Weeks 14-17.  You don’t know what you don’t know. And if the team that had Russell Wilson didn’t make the playoffs, I’m not likely to remember his final performances.

So we’ve compiled the Top 10 at each Fantasy football position, including Defense/Special Teams. Like all data, use this however you wish.  We don’t treat it like 2nd half baseball numbers, but we do scan the lists for possible sleepers and surprises. Let’s look at the signal callers first.

Top 10 QBs, Weeks 14-17

PLAYER GAMES POINTS TDs yds rush_yds
Jameis Winston 4 88 8 1314 66
Cam Newton 4 78 7 719 239
Jimmy Garoppolo 4 76 7 1249 -1
Philip Rivers 4 74 7 1223 5
Russell Wilson 4 73 8 727 154
Joe Flacco 4 72 8 997 1
Matthew Stafford 4 72 7 1144 8
Blake Bortles 4 72 7 1134 38
Ben Roethlisberger 3 65 6 1013 14
Dak Prescott 4 62 5 904 82
Case Keenum 4 62 6 844 58
Drew Brees 4 62 6 1036 -1

Jameis Winston topping this list is why we conduct this exercise. File that in the back of your mind. Obviously, some playoff QBs (including Roethlisberger) tallied only 3 games, so you won’t see Tom Brady on this list.

Top 10 RBs, Weeks 14-17

PLAYER GAMES PTS PTS (PPR) CARRIES RUSH YDS TOTAL TD REC REC Yds
Todd Gurley II 3 107 123 56 366 8 16 225
Kareem Hunt 4 79 93 79 397 5 14 88
Dion Lewis 4 73 90 68 306 5 17 127
Le’Veon Bell 3 69 88 51 234 5 19 153
Melvin Gordon 4 67 83 77 330 3 16 174
LeSean McCoy 4 61 72 80 287 3 11 144
Devonta Freeman 4 59 75 68 276 3 16 173
Mark Ingram 4 54 70 50 202 3 16 161
Giovani Bernard 4 53 75 58 260 2 22 151
Carlos Hyde 4 52 59 66 245 4 7 43
Jordan Howard 4 52 58 64 237 4 6 39

A lot of people remember how Todd Gurley closed out the regular season – 8 TDs in 4 weeks will dominate any leader board, even if the player missed one game. Gurley is the consensus top pick in most drafts this summer so far (topic for another column). Again we are reminded that TDs drive Fantasy scoring, and that Le’Veon Bell is pretty good also.  Gio Bernard topped this list with 22 receptions, showcasing his value; Carlos Hyde and Jordan Howard remind us that they have been mostly one-dimensional.

To the receivers we go:

Top Ten WRs, Weeks 14-17

PLAYER GAMES PTS PPR PTS TDs REC YDS REC
Keelan Cole 4 54 74 2 426 20
DeAndre Hopkins 3 52 71 4 294 19
Michael Thomas 4 49 78 2 370 29
Jarvis Landry 4 46 78 3 288 32
JuJu Smith-Schuster 3 45 66 2 332 21
Doug Baldwin 4 45 57 4 209 12
Keenan Allen 4 42 67 1 361 25
Tyrell Williams 4 40 55 2 280 15
Stefon Diggs 4 40 62 3 219 22
Demaryius Thomas 4 39 62 2 271 23

Keelan Cole just flat dominated the wide receiver position late in the year. He tops our leaderboard, even with just 2 TD.  Keelan and Keenan combined for only 3 scores but were 2 of the top 3 yardage guys.  Doug Baldwin sprinted to the finish on the strength of four visits to the end zone.

The tight end list is a bit deceiving:

Top Ten Fantasy TEs, Weeks 14-17

Player Games Points PPR Points TDs
Eric Ebron 4 33 54 2
Rob Gronkowski 2 30 44 1
Garrett Celek 3 28 34 2
Trey Burton 3 28 36 3
George Kittle 4 26 39 1
Antonio Gates 3 26 37 2
Jack Doyle 4 25 43 2
Benjamin Watson 4 24 40 1
Travis Kelce 3 23 40 1
Vernon Davis 4 22 30 2
Zach Ertz 3 22 39 1

Any list topped by Eric Ebron is going to generate discussion. Only five of the 11 on this list played in all four games, with Ebron being one. An inconsistent performer, Ebron did score twice and hauled in enough passes to top the list.  George Kittle is a bit of a surprise, and with only one score, he earned his spot in the middle of the list.  Antonio Gates will never leave our conscious minds, will he?

Looking the defenses, the only team that jumps out at me is Chicago.  The Bears are returning to their defensive roots and should be even better this year. They’ll be aggressive this season, as they were in the final four weeks.  Otherwise, we don’t put much stock in these finishes. Defenses change and we knew these were good ones.

Top Ten D/STs, Weeks 14-17

TEAM FANTASY PTS SACKS FUM REC INTs Def TD Kick TDs
NO 54 10 1 9 1 1
KC 53 9 6 7 1 0
CAR 50 20 5 5 0 1
DET 47 13 5 8 0 0
ARZ 46 10 2 4 1 0
CHI 45 12 3 3 0 0
MIN 45 7 1 5 1 0
WAS 45 11 4 4 1 0
PHI 42 5 6 3 2 0
PIT 41 16 4 4 0 1

PIVOT TO LAND PIVETTA

Nick Pivetta looks like a shooting star.  I’d even say he’s an ace.  And could be in the Cy Young conversation.

Everything is pointing in the right direction. Consider:

  • His fastball velocity is up: 95.4 mph compared to 94.7 mph last season;
  • The Swinging Strike rate on all of his pitches is up;
  • The Swinging Strike rate on his curveball is 14.9 percent and is 19.1 percent on his slider;
  • His K/9 rate is 10.37, up from 9.47;
  • His BB/9 rate has plummeted, 2.15 BB/9 from 3.86 BB/9 last season;
  • Pivetta’s WHIP has also fallen: 1.13 from 1.51;
  • The percentage of balls pulled and hit up the middle are both down by more than 4 percent, and so his opposite field rate has increased by 9 percentage points.
  • Hard contact against Pivetta is down; soft contact is up;
  • Hitters are swinging more often at pitches out of the zone.

There is nothing not too like and that is too many trends in the right direction to be a fluke. The below chart might look like an easy game of Pick Up Sticks, but it’s an exciting snapshot of the trends in 2018. Go get Pivetta.

A THOUSAND WORDS

Today @BatFlipCrazy is examining Jesus Aguilar’s 2018 so far:

Follow @BatFlipCrazy on Twitter and read more in-depth data analysis at batflipcrazy.com


RIDDLE ME THIS

If you and a friend have the same amount of apples, how many does she have to give you so that you have 10 more apples than she has?

Email your guess to BigMacFantasySports@gmail.com

Sunday’s riddle: The day before yesterday, Will was 17. Next year, he will be 20. How can this be?

Nobody correctly guessed that this question was posed on New Year’s Day and Will’s birthday is Dec. 31.


DAD JOKE OF THE DAY

What do you call a bee with a low buzz?

 

A mumblebee


WHAT WE ARE LISTING TO
Literally minutes ago, the Record Company released a new single, “I’m Getting Better (And I’m Feeling It Right Now)” and we’re already in love with the track, as we are with most Record Company works.

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