Top Experts: Betting Against the Consensus (Week 10)

Nov 10, 2012

You don’t need us to tell you this is a big week for fantasy owners. If you’re reading this, you’re either (1) scratching and clawing for a playoff position (2) looking to maintain your league standing or (3) hanging on life support as you wonder why you drafted Darren McFadden, Greg Jennings & Cam Newton with your top 3 picks while stashing away Jahvid Best for late-season use. We quadruple-checked this and those are the only 3 scenarios that exist for our site visitors.


To give you an edge at this critical time, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to analyze the week 10 rankings of this season’s most accurate experts. In doing so, we uncovered which players the top pundits are favoring compared to our Expert Consensus (ECR) as well as the guys they like less than the Consensus. Given that each expert has been on the mark with their predictions this season, the following should hopefully serve as helpful advice from the best of the best. If that doesn’t ring true, then there will be a new “best of the best” atop our accuracy standings next week!


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Here are the players the top experts like MORE than the expert consensus this week (read on for expert commentary)


 Expert  Site  Player  Expert’s Rank  Consensus (ECR)  Rank vs. ECR
 Jody Smith  Gridiron Experts  C.J. Spiller  RB #9  RB #15  +6
 John Paulsen  Darrius Heyward-Bey  WR #28  WR #39  +11
 Sablich Brothers  The N.Y. Times  Mike Wallace  WR #6  WR #13  +7
 Mike Tagliere  Tags Fantasy Football  Ryan Mathews  RB #8  RB #13  +5
 Mike Tagliere  Tags Fantasy Football  Dustin Keller  TE #10  TE #15  +5
 Austin Lee  Pro Football Focus  Carson Palmer  QB #10  QB #14  +4
 Austin Lee  Pro Football Focus  Chris Johnson  RB #6  RB #14  +8
 Nick Raducanu  The Fantasy Fix  Garrett Hartley  K #4  K #13  +9
 Ken Zalis  Fans Fantasy Football  Jeremy Maclin  WR #19  WR #29  +10
 Ken Zalis  Fans Fantasy Football  Mikel LeShoure  RB #13  RB #18  +5

*Note: Ranks are subject to change leading up to Sunday


Here are the guys the top experts like LESS than the expert consensus this week (read on for expert commentary)


 Expert  Site  Player  Expert’s Rank  Consensus (ECR)  Rank vs. ECR
 Jody Smith  Gridiron Experts  Steve Smith  WR #28  WR #17  -11
 Jody Smith  Gridiron Experts  Pierre Thomas  RB #32  RB #25  -7
 John Paulsen  Steven Jackson  RB #34  RB #29  -5
 Sablich Brothers  The N.Y. Times  Michael Vick  QB #16  QB #12  -4
 Mike Tagliere  Tags Fantasy Football  Cam Newton  QB #11  QB #8  -3
 Austin Lee  Pro Football Focus  Tony Gonzalez  TE #9  TE #3  -6
 Nick Raducanu  The Fantasy Fix  Demaryius Thomas  WR #13  WR #8  -5
 Ken Zalis  Fans Fantasy Football  Mike Williams  WR #29  WR #21  -8

*Note: Ranks are subject to change leading up to Sunday


#1 Accuracy: Jody Smith (Gridiron Experts)

Likes Him More

C.J. Spiller


Jody’s Rank: RB #9

ECR: RB #15

“The guy’s averaging 7.2 yards per carry and the plan is to get him more touches. What a novel idea. I see an opportunity for him to make a big impact as a pass-catcher in the second half of what should be a high-scoring contest.”


Likes Him Less

Jody’s Rank: WR #28
“Smith finally got his first touchdown last week, but he’ll struggle to get a second one this week when blanketed by Champ Bailey. John Fox also should have a pretty good idea of how to defend Smith.”


Likes Him Less
NO vs. ATL
Jody’s Rank: RB #32

“I was very optimistic on Thomas last week, but after seeing how the Saints divided the carries between their three backs, it’s hard to envision Thomas getting enough touches to make a huge impact and he’s not likely to be featured near the goal line on short runs either.”


#2 Accuracy: John Paulsen (

Likes Him More

Darrius Heyward-Bey


John’s Rank: WR #28

ECR: WR #39

“DHB has been solid lately, posting at least 74 yards or scoring a TD in three straight games. With Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson sidelined, the Raiders are going to have to lean on Carson Palmer and the passing game, and Heyward-Bey should benefit.”


Likes Him Less

Steven Jackson


John’s Rank: RB #34

ECR: RB #29

“Jackson is splitting time with Daryl Richardson and has a terrible matchup this week against the 49ers, who by our calculations give up the fewest adjusted fantasy points to running backs. Not good.”



#3 Accuracy: Sablich Brothers (The New York Times)

Likes Him More

Mike Wallace

PIT vs. KC

Sablich Bros’ Rank: WR #6

ECR: WR #13

“Our high ranking of Mike Wallace this week has a lot to do with the absence of his teammate Antonio Brown and Kansas City’s secondary is on the softer side of the fantasy spectrum. The Chiefs allow the seventh-most fantasy points to quarterbacks (19.1), and without Brown we think Wallace will be reaping the rewards of a very strong performance from Ben Roethlisberger.”


Likes Him Less

Michael Vick


Sablich Bros’ Rank: QB #16

ECR: QB #12

“A season-ending ankle injury will add the right tackle Todd Herremans to the list of Eagles’ offensive line casualties that already included Jason Peters, Jason Kelce and Danny Watkins. It doesn’t take a football genius to figure out that the smelly block of Swiss cheese the Eagles call an offensive line was the reason Vick was sacked a season-high seven times by the lowly Saints defense on Monday night. Things can only get worse as the Cowboys are a top-four pass defense and are limiting quarterbacks to 14 fantasy points a game this year.”



#4 Accuracy: Mike Tagliere (Tags Fantasy Football)

Likes Him More

Ryan Mathews


Mike’s Rank: RB #8

ECR: RB #13

“While I do understand the frustration with Mathews this year, I also don’t dismiss players that quickly that are proven producers. San Diego’s offensive line had some health issues earlier in the year, but are near full health now. Mathews finished as the #7 fantasy back last year despite missing 2.5 games. When he breaks out, you don’t want him on your bench.”


Likes Him More

Dustin Keller


Mike’s Rank: TE #10

ECR: TE #15

“With the Jets, you can never feel really good about starting any pass catcher. But with tight ends it has been hit or miss all year. Keller is now fully healthy and has racked up 14 catches for 160 yards over their last two games with a TD. The Seahawks have legit starting corners that should take care of Kerley and Hill, so look for Sanchez to target his safety blanket Keller.”


Likes Him Less

Cam Newton


Mike’s Rank: QB #11

ECR: QB #8

“It seems like all year we have been waiting for Newton to have a true breakout game. Last week is when it should have been against the Redskins, and Cam was good, although not great. He has only thrown for over 253 yards twice all year and had just 6 passing scores through 8 games. His rushing keeps him somewhat afloat in fantasy, but he shouldn’t be considered a top 10 QB unless it’s a great matchup. Denver is not that.”



#7 Accuracy: Austin Lee (Pro Football Focus)

Likes Him More

Carson Palmer


Austin’s Rank: QB #10

ECR: QB #14

“Is it such a stretch to rank last week’s number one fantasy quarterback in the top 10 this week? He attempted 61 passes last week, and with Oakland’s top two rushers sidelined, the Raiders will continue to pass early and often. Only four quarterbacks have more fantasy points in their last three games than Carson Palmer’s 62.44.


Palmer’s matchup against the Ravens this week is less than ideal, but I just don’t trust Eli Manning, Tony Romo, Philip Rivers, or Michael Vick to fare any better. Manning and Rivers haven’t had a 15-point fantasy day since week five, and only Matt Cassel has more turnovers than Romo or Vick.


If you’ve been frustrated by the underperforming, low-end QB1 you drafted, don’t hesitate to make the switch to Palmer. After this week, he faces several favorable pass defenses.”


Likes Him More

Chris Johnson


Austin’s Rank: RB #6

ECR: RB #14

“Doug Martin (115.9), Adrian Peterson (82.8), and Arian Foster (78.3) are the only running backs who have scored more fantasy points than Chris Johnson (72.0) in their last four games. In two of those games, Johnson rewarded fantasy owners with solid outings against the Steelers’ and Bears’ stingy run defenses.


At first glance, this week’s matchup at Miami seems difficult because the Dolphins have allowed only 72.9 rushing yards per game, but who have they shut down? They faced Darren McFadden, Shonn Greene, Ryan Williams, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Steven Jackson, and Vick Ballard, who have combined for only three 100-yard games this season. Arian Foster is the only top-15 running back that the Dolphins have played against, and he scored nearly 20 fantasy points against them.


Johnson will continue his streak of success in Miami this week, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he broke free for another long touchdown run.”

Likes Him Less

Tony Gonzalez


Austin’s Rank: TE #9

ECR: TE #3

“Tony Gonzalez only has 10.7 total fantasy points over the past three games. Five tight ends had more points than that in week nine alone. Gonzalez hauled in 7.8 receptions per game in his first five games but hasn’t caught more than four passes in a game in over a month. The Falcons face the Saints’ sieve of a defense this week, but New Orleans allows the sixth fewest fantasy points per game to tight ends. Julio Jones, Roddy White, and Michael Turner will have no problem racking up nice fantasy totals at the Superdome this weekend while Gonzo has another light fantasy day.”



#9 Accuracy: Nick Raducanu (The Fantasy Fix)

Likes Him More

Garrett Hartley

NO vs. ATL

Nick’s Rank: K #4

ECR: K #13

“I’ll preface this ranking with saying that kickers are a crapshoot and I have almost as much faith that Hartley will finish as a top 10 kicker this week as I do that he’ll finish in the bottom 10 (talk about hedging your bets!). I can see what other experts are thinking having Hartley at 13 since we are talking about a guy who is currently the 28th-ranked kicker and has only hit seven field goals all year. Part of Hartley’s fantasy struggles are due to the fact that the Saints offense is rarely limited to a field goal (they’re currently the league’s most efficient red zone offense), but they go up against a relatively strong Falcons defense this week and I’m banking on Hartley getting a few more field goal opportunities to help pad his score.”


Likes Him Less

Demaryius Thomas


Nick’s Rank: WR #13

ECR: WR #8

“I actually think Thomas is a very good player so this ranking is a lot more about the other wide receivers I ranked ahead of him more than it is about Thomas’ deficiencies. There are guys like Wes Welker, Marques Colston, and Mike Wallace (who are their team’s #1 WR) that I just couldn’t bring myself to rank below a guy who has less targets than Eric Decker (who I also have ranked ahead of Thomas) over the Broncos’ last four games. The Bengals are somewhere towards the middle of the pack in terms of fantasy points allowed to wide receivers so Thomas is easily worth a top 15 rank this week, but Peyton is looking toward Decker more than Thomas owners would like and I just couldn’t bring myself to rank him above some of the aforementioned wideouts.”



#10 Accuracy: Ken Zalis (Fans Fantasy Football)

 Likes Him More

Jeremy Maclin


Ken’s Rank: WR #19

ECR: WR #29

“For the season, the Cowboys are giving up the 6th lowest output to WRs but over the last three weeks they have increased from giving up 18 fantasy points per game to WRs to now 22 ppg. They are regressing as a pass defense. Last year Maclin scored in each game vs the Cowboys, while averaging 60 plus yards per game. He will work underneath and could catch 7 or more balls this week.”


Likes Him More

Mikel LeshoureMikel Leshoure


Ken’s Rank: RB #13

ECR: RB #18

“Over the last three weeks only the Buffalo Bills have given up more points per game to Fantasy RBs. The Vikings have given up an average of 30 points per game to opposing RBs during that stretch. At the same time, LeShoure has averaged over 4.7 yards a carry. This combo bodes well for the Detroit RB.”


Likes Him Less

Mike Williams

TB vs. SD

Ken’s Rank: RB #29

ECR: WR #21

“Mike Williams has 68 yards receiving in his last 2 games and has scored a TD in each game. At the same time, the Chargers has given up the 12th most fantasy points to WRs. So why the low ranking? The Chargers give up yards and not TDs (only 14 this year) and Doug Martin is hot, so fewer passes could be thrown. Williams has stuggled in 3 of his team’s 6 games and I see him as more of a flex play this week than a solid WR2.”




Thanks to this week’s Featured Pros for sharing their insight with us. If you’d like to read more of the experts’ advice, please be sure to check out their sites and follow them on Twitter. Best of luck to everyone this weekend!

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