Fantasy Football


Monday, 15 September, 2014


Week two injuries have caused euphoria of panic in the fantasy football world. I can’t recall a week in the last five years that saw as many noteworthy injuries. Countless fantasy football teams were left with a big fat zero points wise from their injured player. Luckily for some the injuries are not extreme, for others it’s time to make quick moves via the waiver wire.

Kirk Cousins
There is no doubt that Cousins will be the hottest fantasy football commodity as a waiver wire pickup this week. He has shown in the past to be a fantasy football viable starter in other starts via RG3 injury. How will the offensive playbook change effect Cousins on field performance? Against the weak Jaguars defense it was a non issue, but it may lurk in the upcoming weeks.

Khiry Robinson
The Saints lost another road game and in it Mark Ingram for four weeks to a hand injury. It comes at the wrong time for Ingram as he was seeing a nice resurgence to his overall career and fantasy contributions. Robinson and Pierre Thomas should see a considerable amount of looks now in one of the best fantasy football offenses.

Knile Davis
Jamaal Charles fantasy owners have already had it after the first two weeks of the NFL season. For some you may still have the opportunity to try and pick up Davis. Others that are out of luck may want to try and pry Davis via a trade. Charles has had enough ticky tack injuries already, to be on the lookout for a long term injury.

Niles Paul
Leave no doubt about it the Redskins are going to throw the football. With DeSean Jackson injured Sunday, Paul and former Cardinal Andre Roberts step up without a problem against the Jaguars secondary. We will have to see how long Jackson will be out to boost Paul for short term or long term consideration. Pierre Garcon will not be shut down like he was this week.

Bobby Rainey
Rainey showcased he can be a feature back last season for the Buccaneers and had a fine day yesterday in a loss to the Rams. With Doug Martin hurt once again one has to question if he’ll ever come near to the form he was a few seasons ago. It’s highly unlikely, making Rainey a huge pickup if available.

Donald Brown
With Ryan Matthews out a little over a month the Chargers will lean on Brown and Danny Woodhead. Brown’s been in spot starts before in Indianapolis but never could be that first round worthy talent the Colts drafted him at. Will see what Brown can do this time around.

Others: Delanie Walker, Steve Smith Sr, Allen Robinson, Larry Donnell, Brian Quick


Friday, 12 September, 2014


One of the biggest mistakes people make in handicapping a number in the NFL is believing they have a stronger opinion than oddsmakers. Some people write their own lines and if they see a three to four point spread differential from their line to the oddsmakers they believe they’re line is stronger. On the contrary, when this happens you should think again and likely X the game out or play the other side.

One of the worst mistakes you can make is believing you can outsmart oddsmakers. Las Vegas sportsbooks monitor each other and even view offshore lines to gauge the pricing market. The number is put out there to get value on both sides, not to land one-sided money.

The only sport I’ve seen lines be completely off on a regular basis is in college basketball. It’s a tough sport to predict even for oddsmakers early on in a season with transfers, travel, and incoming recruits.

This week there are a lot of high point spreads out there in the NFL. Don’t get caught in the hoopla of underdogs covering at a strong rate last week. That was last week, and the market was tighter from a point spread stand point as well. Pick your spots and find proper value according to what the oddsmakers have set.


Friday, 12 September, 2014


Watch this week’s free play between Wake Forest and Utah State. I’m 6-3 on the year in college football and 3-0 in the NFL. View premium play offerings under today’s picks. I have three for college Saturday and four for NFL Sunday.

Untitled from Zack Cimini on Vimeo.

Tier Two: Week Two Fantasy Football Best Matchups

Wednesday, 10 September, 2014

Tier Two: Week Two Fantasy Football Best Matchups


It’d be great if you could count on your top three to four picks every week to hand you a win. It doesn’t work that way on the field in the NFL and certainly doesn’t in fantasy football. You need strong efforts from your tier two and sometimes even tier three athletes. Zack Cimini takes a look at tier two players this week that should pay dividends for your team.


I was glad to see that the media did not blame the Redskins week one loss solely on RG3. In the past that may have been warranted. But for the most part the Redskins loss the game against the Texans with team mistakes. Special teams allowed a blocked punt for a touchdown before half, and the team had two costly red zone turnovers. Houston’s defense is much improved and got after RG3 all day. This week should be a much better match up for the Redskins against the Jaguars. I’d expect the Redskins to score three to four touchdowns and for RG3 to have a nice day through the air.

Carson Palmer
Boy oh boy it looks like that magic wand to snap the Giants back to a playoff contender has officially snapped. New York use to be one of those teams people could just wait for that win streak to appear with. Times have changed for the Giants and the Cardinals will look to go 2-0. Arizona might have better offensive balance especially at the receiver position than Detroit. Besides MegaTron the Lions are still working in the rest of their talent. Meanwhile Arizona is stacked with Fitzgerald, Brown, and Floyd. Expect Carson to be able to gun the ball all over the field with little pressure in his face.

Other Quarterbacks: Ryan Fitzpatrick

Running Backs

Shonn Greene
This is a great week for fantasy owners to insert Greene as their flex running back. The Titans offense clicked in week one against an undermanned Chiefs defense. It’ll be interesting to see if week one was a true progression for this team or just one week. Greene knows his job is soon to be Bishop Sankey’s, but Sankey has done nothing to position himself as the top back in this dual backfield. We all saw how Carlos Hyde and Frank Gore paired to trample the Cowboys defense. Look for the Titans to mimic that recipe with Greene.

Carlos Hyde
It looks like the 49ers have once again discovered a gem by accident. Two years ago they caught a break when Kaepernick started because Alex Smith was injured. The team did not look back. This time they drafted Hyde to eventually replace Gore, who is in the final year of his contract. Dallas’s defense is always shaky but another team that has had a hard time stopping the run are the Chicago Bears. Look for Hyde to keep rewarding fantasy owners that drafted him late in rounds.

Others: Toby Gerhart, and Mark Ingram

Wide Receivers

Eric Decker
You could tell the Jets offense had a bit more synergy than any game witnessed a year ago. Eric Decker was one of the key names brought in to bring life to an ailing team at receiver. Decker’s not going to have an all world season like he did with Peyton Manning but he should shine as an underrated fantasy guy all year. Insert him in week two.

Torrey Smith
When inserting three starting wide receivers sometimes you just have to look for yardage value over touchdown possibilities. Smith is one of those guys this week that falls into the yardage category. He has always been a solid performer against the Steelers and I don’t see that changing this week. The Steelers showed last week that they still have huge holes in the secondary against a depleted receiving group of the Browns.

Others: DeAndre Hopkins and Marques Colston

Translating Fantasy Football to Sports Handicapping

Wednesday, 10 September, 2014


My background in fantasy sports trumps my sports handicapping experience by a handful of years. I’m from the old school of fantasy fanatics that use to crunch their own league numbers and standings. No online software, it was all done with the sports page and a TI-84 calculator to punch in box score stats.

There is an obvious correlation in fantasy sports and sports handicapping. I’m not a trends guy when it comes to all the crazy different scenarios some handicappers can come up with. The type of trends I use for sports handicapping come from individual performances over the years. That’s where the world of fantasy football brings a charm to point spreads and teams.

This week I have the Carolina Panthers as my correlated team for a sports handicapping and fantasy football metrics breakdown.

See The Latest College Football Odds at AllPro

Here are three reasons why I believe there is more value on Detroit’s side this week than Carolina’s.

Rookie Wide Receivers tend to struggle with consistency
The Carolina Panthers surely have found a great rookie in Kelvin Benjamin. But one thing that never fails with rookie wideouts is struggling with consistency. After a very impressive week one you’d have to expect a decline from Benjamin. You’d have to go back to 2012 to find a receiver that has made an impact each and every week, and that is Alshon Jeffrey of the Bears. It took Jeffrey until his second season to achieve such status. Even AJ Green in 2011 struggled with consistency on his way to a 1000 yard season. Benjamin likely won’t be a bust or a downgrade position starter like Brian Quick, Tavon Austin, Titus Young(out of the league), AJ Jenkins(On his way out of the league), Stephen Hill(Unsigned), Justin Blackmon, etc, but he is going to struggle just like everyone else.

Cam Newton’s return from injury
For a quarterback to be held out of week one and then be declared a go on Tuesday just doesn’t add up. If a team feels confident to name Newton a starter 48 hours later something tells you they may be rushing him back. Most teams would have left speculation in the air until Friday or Saturday. It’s the rust of Newton that worries me even more this week for his return. Can he deliver crisp throws to all new wide receivers in Jerricho Cotchery, Benjamin, and Jason Avant? Limited practice reps and on field play leave tremendous doubt this week facing a confident Lions team. That and Newton’s bonus dimension is his scrambling ability. Can he absorb crushing hits to his big frame without grimacing, or will the Panthers scale his carries back completely?

DeAngelo Williams Track Record
I’ve hammered the wide receiver and quarterback position for the Panthers and last but not least is the running back position. DeAngelo Williams. Carolina has had the same dual back system for years with Williams/Stewart and bowling ball Mike Tolbert. All of these guys may not even be true backup running backs around the league. But Carolina keeps their system intact because of Newton’s all around athletic abilities. Williams 72 yards on five yards a carry last week against the Bucs look fantastic on paper. But it’s just the 11th time since 2011 (49 Games) that Williams has cracked over 70 yards rushing.

This game is setting up to put too much pressure on the Carolina Panthers defense. Last year the Panthers lost three of their first four games because the defense couldn’t hold up with their struggling offense. Last week the defense almost collapsed in the fourth quarter against the Buccaneers. They gave up two touchdowns when the Bucs decided to run a hurry up offense with McCown under center. That’s Stafford’s bread and butter. I find it hard to believe Carolina will be able to stifle a Detroit Lions team that has weapons all over the place. The value here is on the Detroit Lions.

Fantasy Football: Five Players to Upgrade and Downgrade

Monday, 8 September, 2014

Fantasy Football: Five Players to Upgrade and Downgrade



Russ Wilson
Wilson was impressive in orchestrating a rout against the Green Bay Packers Thursday. He seems to be ready to elevate his game to another level that should be fantasy friendly. He has always talked the talk with proper interviews and now it’s translating onto the field.

Andy Dalton
The Bengals could have folded as a team offensively with the way the game tracked. In fact most of the time when you see teams give away a lead they fold with under six minutes to go. After five first half field goals and a missed sixth attempt, the Bengals found themselves down 16-15 with under six minutes. Dalton stayed poised and delivered a game winning touchdown bomb to AJ Green. He may not be a post season quarterback just yet, but he has shown through the years to be a steady fantasy quarterback in the regular season.

Codarrelle Patterson
Maybe the Vikings have something going that the rest of the league will follow suit with. They originally drafted Percy Harvin for his speed and shiftiness in the open field. It worked for a few seasons out of the backfield and at wide receiver before he ended up in Seattle. It looks like the Vikings had another route in mind when they landed Patterson. His speed and open field ability is on another level. Fantasy owners that got him as a relative mid round pick are grinning from ear to ear.

Markus Wheaton
It wasn’t the offense of the Steelers that impressed me, it was the defense. From a fantasy football players perspective you have to love the fact that the Steelers defense is still in shambles. They nearly allowed the Browns to come all the way back and win the game. But knowing that the defense is still a work in progress means that the Steelers will continue to throw a lot offensively. That boosts Wheaton who had nearly 100 yards receiving on six catches Sunday.

Pierre Thomas
Most draftees of Thomas were able to land him as their fourth running back and best flex option. The Saints have shown that they don’t mind feeding the ball to Thomas out of the backfield, as he was great in this area last season. When they decided to bring him back many people were not sure if it would be in the same capacity. After seven carries for 30 yards and seven catches for nearly 60 yards, those questions have been answered.


Ben Tate
Tate owners are extremely displeased with his early season injury against the Steelers. Though he will likely return soon he already has the injury bug tabbed on him from his Houston days. Owners better find a way to trade for Terrance West if you do not have him already. West came in and showcased that he can handle the load with sixteen carries for 100 yards against the Steelers.

Vincent Jackson
The problems with Tampa Bay’s week one performance are not going to resolve themselves in one or two games. Josh McCown had a couple of awful interceptions and really never got back into gear after the first turnover. Obviously if McCown continues to struggle it’s going to have a downgraded effect to Jackson. You have to move him down until the team shows better promise. Right now the offense would rank dead last from what I saw this week.

Doug Martin
Doug Martin seems to be heading down Steve Slaton territory. He came out of nowhere to have one stellar season. Owners drafted him high last year with injuries ending that season. Promise for a comeback based on his season two years ago looks far fetched after week one. He ran the ball nine times for just nine yards. A bad game against the Panthers isn’t something to overreact about, but Martin has a steep hill to climb to get anywhere near the value he was drafted for.

Trent Richardson
Richardson seems to be attacking aggressively but just doesn’t have the gear to get out of the hole. It’s hard to tell if Richardson can get in gear if Indianapolis always digs themselves a hole. But his downward progression has been going on for over a year now. Sooner or later the Colts are going to run out of patience as fantasy owners are.

Jamaal Charles
Last month I profiled how backs falter under Andy Reid. It’s been a problem for over ten years. Kansas City’s offense was the second worst in week one behind the Buccaneers. Charles is the type of back though that can have five or six great games to offset this type of performance. His low carries though from week one have to be alarming.