Fake Sports Grudge Match: Football vs. Baseball

The Beginning:

I started playing fantasy baseball 6 years ago. The first league I played in was crazy, 16 different categories in a head-to-head format with 11 other guys. I was in over my head. I wound up finishing in the middle of the pack, but decided that if I wanted to continue to play that I would have to tone it back and learn the basics. I felt like I was trying to jump off the high dive before I even knew how to swim. Over the next couple of years I played in more simplified leagues, which included 10 categories (hits, HR, stolen bases, batting average, RBI, wins, strikeouts, saves, ERA, WHIP). We had 10 different guys in that league and it was a blast. I finally got the concept of how the game was played. The format was weekly, so you set your lineup on Monday and not again until the following week. This is nice for people who work full time, and while at the time I was in high school, many of the other people I played with did not have as much time to spend on it daily. The other interesting thing about that league was that it was an auction league. For those who do not know, auction leagues are set up in such a way that each player is bid on during the draft, and the players are auctioned off. Some owners are aggressive and bid right away, others sit back and grab a ton of above average guys and maybe only have one superstar on their team. Auction leagues give owners a lot of say in who is on their team unlike snake drafts where you might not have the chance at specific players based on your draft order.

For me, the first few years of fantasy baseball were just something to do while I waited for fantasy football to start back up again. I set my lineup on Monday and would check it daily but couldn’t make any changes. I liked the idea of being able to make daily changes and so I asked some buddies who I played fantasy football with if they would want to play fantasy baseball. 10 guys were in and we started creating what the league should look like. We came up with our categories and decided that we all had time to look enough to make daily changes. Once I started playing in leagues where you could make those daily changes, I was hooked.

Fantasy Football:

For those who know me or have read anything I have written since I started at The Sports Script, you know how much I love  fantasy football. I watch every Thursday night game unless something more important keeps me away. Sundays afternoons are usually spent in my basement (I wrote about my sweet setup here). Sunday nights are spent on the treadmill at the gym, where I strategize about what I need to have happen in the Sunday night and Monday night games. On Monday nights I am usually back on the bike to watch the first half before rushing home to catch the second half at my house. While I realized this year that maybe 7 leagues is a few too many, I still had a blast not only writing about fantasy football, but playing it as well. I love the rivalries with friends, I love the trophies and stories you hear on about on Twitter and I love the fact that millions from age 8 to 80 play the game. There are hundreds of different formats and everyone has a favorite player (or least favorite player) based on how they won (or lost) you a fantasy championship over the years. Mine is Matthew Stafford, if you want the story you will have to ask me about it on Twitter. It is one of my favorite stories to tell, even though it ended in tears of sadness and happiness all at the same time. So after all this, how can I tell you that while I like fantasy football, I love fantasy baseball?

Fantasy Baseball:

simpsons-sabermetricsBaseball is truly amazing, and I think that is why the fantasy game is so great. Football gets the ratings, football gets the hype, football rules all other sports when it comes to North American popularity, but football still doesn’t have that simple feel that baseball fans have come to love. Football has so many rules and penalties and changing of players between offense and defense. Have you ever tried to explain football to someone who has never seen the game before? I would rather take Organic Chemistry. Baseball is as simple as you want it to be. 9 positions and 9 hitters per team. The majority of the batters also play out in the field and when they get three outs they get to come to bat. Explaining baseball to someone who hasn’t seen it before is easier than grabbing a second plate of food at a buffet. For those who do not want simplicity, baseball has some of the most advanced stats in any sport that can have you wandering around Baseball Reference for hours. They have stats for a batter’s average when they hit the ball hard. They have a rate to see how often pitchers give up groundballs relative to fly balls. How many times did the pitcher throw a change up on a 0-2 count in the last 30 days? I am sure all you have to do is a little research and you can find pretty much any stat you want on any player. The game can be simple, but it can be advanced and that brings in an audience that is very diverse.

Fantasy baseball reaches those same people by how advanced leagues are. Your league can have 5 categories or 20. Your league can have 4 teams or 25. You can hold a classic snake draft or an auction. You can use keepers from year to year, or you can make each season a new adventure. While you might look at this list and say that fantasy football provides the same array of differences, the best thing about baseball is how many games there are.

162 Games:

The baseball season is long. Longer than most of Kim Kardashian’s marriages, longer than a foot-long hotdog at the ballpark and longer than any other major professional sport. The NHL and NBA each play 82 games and the NFL plays 16 games during their respective regular seasons. For many, 162 games is the reason they don’t play fantasy baseball. Too many games or too long of a season are excuses I have heard for many who have denied my invitations over the years. For some, their love of baseball is trumped by the commitment needed over the course of an entire season. Those individuals may like the weekly game I mentioned earlier. Owners can check it once a day or once a week and the outcome won’t be different because changes cannot be made once the lineup is locked.

For me, the reason I love fantasy baseball is because there are so many games. There are few days between April and August where you will not find live baseball on your television. There are games on when you are at work and days on when you get back home. Your home team might play on a Thursday afternoon and then again Friday, Saturday and Sunday night. Sometimes if you are lucky, your favorite team or players might play twice in one day! You might come home and see that David Wright just hit for the cycle or that Phil Hughes just threw a gem while you were finishing up at the office. Baseball doesn’t take breaks and either do daily fake baseball leagues. Every day you can make moves whether you want to add a hot bat off the waiver wire or pick up a pitcher who is starting.

Skill or (Andrew) Luck:

Take this quick example about fantasy football and how great teams might not make the playoffs. I know you probably don’t care about my team, but hear me out. Week 16 concluded one of my leagues and so I went and looked at the team that I thought was best. My team (at least to me) was stacked. It was headlined by Russell Wilson (QB3), DeMarco Murray (RB1), Le’Veon Bell (RB2), AJ Green (WR21), Julian Edelman (WR17) and Martellus Bennett (TE5). Keep in mind, this is a 10 team league. My final record? 4-9. 4 and 9!

Many times in fantasy football, the team with the best roster does not win. Sometimes they don’t even make the playoffs. Maybe your quarterback has just one bad game in the playoffs and your undefeated team might be out of the running for the championship. I see this a lot less in fantasy baseball, regardless on if you play in weekly leagues or daily leagues. The best overall team over the course of the season usually finds themselves in the playoffs and fighting for a championship (Editor’s note: It’s the sample size, man!). You can build your team around pitching or you can build your team around hitting or you can try to balance them out. Roto has been around forever though, which allows all the teams in the league to compete against one another over the course of the entire season, thus eliminating much of the luck. There’s a good chance some football leagues begin to move this way in the very near future.

fantasy-football-team-embarassesmentFor those who read this article and have read my Weekly Stream column every week, thank you for your continued devotion to my writing. Do not look at this article as a bash on fantasy football because obviously I still have a love for it. What readers should take away from this article is that there are other fantasy sports out there and baseball is one that can not only keep you occupied during the football offseason but also give you a completely different outlook at how you can play fantasy sports. Playing fantasy baseball and playing football are completely different but both provide entertainment, which is the main reason that we play fantasy in the first place.

For newcomers to the game of fantasy baseball, look for an article from me in the next couple of weeks about websites to help you get started with your league. I will also include some stud Twitter follows, and maybe a couple of basic vocabulary words to get you going. Look for continued articles from all of us at TSS. We had some great articles covering the Winter Meetings and will be providing more content as we move on from football. As always thanks for continuing to read and for the good words on social media.

Happy New Year! We’ll see you in 2015.

Photo cred: http://goo.gl/g2byu1, http://goo.gl/PTSPTz

Check out FantasyRundown.com for all of our latest articles and other great fantasy content.

Jared “Minnesota Nice” Hines is a fantasy football contributor at The Sports Script. Follow him on Twitter @Jared_Hines27!


The Weekly Stream: Defense; Week 16

Titans Defense
No team has scored fewer than 7 fantasy points against the Jaguars this season.

As the holidays approach and we move toward the new year, the gift of giving always becomes more prevalent and (most) people seem to be in a better mood. Maybe it is because they get more time off work, maybe it is the extra time they get to spend with family, or maybe, just maybe, it is because they are in their fantasy football championship! While there are some leagues that will play in week 17, the majority of formats finish up this week to avoid having their star players sit in week 17 as they rest for the NFL playoffs. A couple of defenses gave us an early Christmas present last week as they provided huge performances in the semifinals. Let’s take a look at who they were and how they did it!

Last Week’s Results:

Baltimore got their chance at Bortles and the Jaguars in week 15 and it led to a great fantasy day, as expected. The Ravens defense allowed just 12 points while scoring a touchdown in the battle. The reason I liked the Ravens this week was because of their recent surge in sacks over the past several weeks. 8 sacks and countless knockdowns left the Jaguars rattled while the Ravens cruised to a 23-point day, the highest scoring amongst all fake defenses. You do not have to look much further down the list to see the Kansas City Chiefs. I liked the Chiefs because they had a revenge game against Oakland, who beat them a couple Thursdays ago for their first victory of the season. This game was at Arrowhead Stadium so I expected different results. The defense scored a touchdown and held the Raiders to just 13 points en route to a 17-point showing.

Week 16 Targets:

Tennessee Titans: It obviously a strange week when I am recommending fantasy’s 29th ranked defense. That being said, I believe the Titans might just be the unit to lead your squad to fantasy glory! This defense has not been very good, but a lot of that is because have been on the field so much. Not this week. The Titans head down to Florida on a short week for their second matchup against the Jaguars. No defense has recorded fewer than 7 fantasy points against the Jacksonville offense in 2014. In their last meeting, Tennessee put up a 12-spot against the Jags, their 2nd best total of the season. Look for baby blue to have a solid Thursday night showing.

Philadelphia Eagles: I almost choked on my breakfast when I saw that the Eagles were only 66% owned. Their ownership went down a little after last week’s matchup with the Cowboys. Now the Eagles get Washington, the biggest mess in the NFL. This Eagles unit has scored double-digit fantasy points 7 times and rank only below Buffalo on ESPN’s Player Rater. Philly has everything to play for as they are in the middle of a heated NFC East battle with Tony Romo and company. A huge showing is coming for this unit in week 16.

Buffalo Bills: The Bills would be my defense of the week but they are only available in about 25% of ESPN leagues as of this writing. The number could be due to dead leagues but the fact of the matter is that they need to be owned. The reason I am suggesting a team with such high ownership is because of who they played last week. The Bills played (and beat) the Green Bay Packers. While some probably stashed Buffalo on their bench and picked up another defense last week, some owners have a phobia of owning more than one defense. I believe they call it Twodefensiveitis (Editor’s note: Jared Hines, MD). Regardless, the Bills are the number one fantasy defense this year and have scored double-digit fantasy points in 4 of the last 6 weeks. Now they face Oakland who has been terrible this year and has allowed opposing defenses to score double-digit fantasy points 6 times in 2014. Take a quick second to make sure that they aren’t on your waiver wire.

That’s 15 columns down, 1 to go! As always I had a great time writing this article and hope you enjoy reading it. Good luck in your matchups this week!

As always, happy streaming!

Photo cred: http://goo.gl/LZo8eH

Check out FantasyRundown.com for all of our latest articles and other great fantasy content.

Jared “Minnesota Nice” Hines is a fantasy football contributor at The Sports Script. Follow him on Twitter @Jared_Hines27!

The Weekly Stream: Defense; Week 15

Ravens Defense
The Ravens are a lock for double-digit fantasy points in week 15

Tuesday morning I was strolling (Editor’s note: I think he means *trolling*) through my Twitter feed and noticed a trend. There were a lot more pictures then there usually are. Not because the Victoria Secret Fashion Show was the other night, but because a ton of fantasy gamers were posting photos of their playoff matchups. Teams were winning by small margins and bragging about their lineups, or they were showing how close they were to advancing, only to have Aaron Rodgers kneel down on the last play of Monday’s game to cost them a spot in the next round. I looked through my fair share of matchups and noticed that they all had a common theme. One of the teams had a defense that went absolutely crazy.

There were a couple of teams I saw that streamed the Giants defense against Tennessee. An opponent of mine did the same thing, and while it wasn’t the deciding factor in my match, it was hilarious to watch the Giants lead fantasy in defensive scoring in week 14.

Last Week’s Results:

Last week I recommended 3 teams. They included the Texans, Rams and my hometown Vikings. If you decided to trust your playoff matchup with one of these defensive units, you were rewarded with great production. The Rams posted their 2nd-straight shutout while adding in 2 picks, a touchdown and 7 sacks en route to 24 fantasy points. Another team with a great matchup was the Houston Texans. They recorded 4 sacks on their way to a solid 11 fantasy points. The last team I recommended was the Minnesota Vikings. I thought the they had a good chance at keeping Geno and the Jets (you read that line and felt like Elton John, admit it) to a low point total. While they allowed 24 points and had to take the game into OT, the Vikings did pick off Geno once in Sunday’s chilly affair at TCF Bank Stadium. They also recovered a fumble and oh yeah, that interception was returned for  touchdown. Toss in 3 sacks and you have yourself a solid showing; 10 points for the purple people eaters.

Week 15 Targets:

Week 15 will bring along more pictures on social media of fantasy matchups that will end up coming down to the wire. If you survived last week, week 15 is all about putting yourself in the best position to win and get into your championship. Taking chances would not be my advice to you. Play your studs, and look for defenses with good matchups. Let’s not try to get too cute here with the season on the line.

  • Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs defense has not been playing as well as many expected them to coming into this season. A couple of heartbreaking losses have left them befuddled but this is their week to shine. The last time they met Oakland, the Raiders won their first game of the season. An embarrassing loss for the Chiefs to be sure. I look for Kansas City to have a big day in a revenge game.
  • Baltimore Ravens: The season is winding down which means so is my weekly segment of “stream whoever plays Jacksonville.” Let’s not look to the future though, instead, let’s get ready to celebrate a great matchup for week 15. Baltimore’s unit generates the majoroty of points from sacking the opposing quarterback. The Jaguars give up sack after sack on a weekly basis, something that should once again happen on Sunday. Put the two together and you’ve got yourself double-digit fantasy points for the Ravens. Book it!

So where do we go from here? I decided that while most fantasy playoffs end in week 16, I would continue to write this article through the end of the regular season. For the few people who have week 17 matchups, I didn’t want to leave you out in the dust. That leaves us two columns left after this one before I move onto playoff football, as well as some baseball content as well. Good luck to you as you continue your playoff push.

As always, happy streaming!

Photo cred: http://goo.gl/zsRKJa

Check out FantasyRundown.com for all of our latest articles and other great fantasy content.

Jared “Minnesota Nice” Hines is a fantasy football contributor at The Sports Script. Follow him on Twitter @Jared_Hines27!

Torii Returns: A Minnesota Love Story

Torri Hunter
Dust off your old Hunter jerseys! He joins the Twins on a 1-year, 10 million dollar deal

Yesterday, Torii Hunter signed a 1-year contract with the Minnesota Twins. Spending my whole life in Minnesota, I didn’t know what to think when I heard the news. Should I be happy that Torii is coming back home? Can he add value to the 2015 squad? What about the other outfielders on the team? I decided to take a look at some stats to help me decide how I felt about the signing.

According to Baseball Reference, 12 different Twins spent at least some time in the outfield over the course of the 2014 season. Danny Santana started 62 games in center field and 101 games overall. He batted .319 with a .353 OBP and was one of the biggest surprises in the American League. Oswaldo Arcia played 100 games in the outfield, batting .231 in his 2nd season with the club. He was also below the MLB average in OBP, posting a .300. I am optimistic that Arcia will continue to improve, and his 20 homer potential is promising.

So where does that put Hunter? Torii’s deal is for only 1 year, but it is for enough money (10.5 mil) that they are going to want him play every night. This might take away playing time from other outfielders like Jordan Schafer, who plays all three outfield positions and Aaron Hicks, who will likely be competing for a roster spot. Last, but certainly not least, we have Byron Buxton. Buxton might still be another year away from the majors after suffering multiple injuries last year, including a brutal collision with another teammate while trying to make a catch in the outfield. Torii’s experience and leadership would be another great addition to Byron’s young career and hopefully Hunter can be the leader in the clubhouse that the Twins seek.

Hunter played 11 years with the Twins from 1997-2007, where he posted a .271 batting average and .324 OBP. He also posted a .990 fielding percentage or higher almost every year that he was here, and he is still productive in the field as he nears the end of his career. Hunter’s numbers are the reason that I have given him the name Mr. Consistent when mentioning him to people who haven’t seen his career numbers. He has hit over 10 home runs the last 14 years and has posted 20+ dingers in 6 of the last 9. He averages 75 to 90 RBI on the regular and his batting average is always right around .300. The other reason I have given him the nickname is because of the number of games he plays. Over 140 games the past 5 years and at age 39, there is not a reason those patterns couldn’t continue. If I had to choose, I would say that Torii plays left field and helps this team as they are try to build for the future, a phrase that Minnesota Twins fans are ready to put to rest forever. He decided to potentially finish his career here instead of somewhere where he could contend right away and I think that is very Hunter-like.

Welcome home Torii, good luck as you rejoin the team that brought you so much joy early in your career. See you April 13th at Target Field, I will be the guy with the wrinkled jersey with your name on it and I couldn’t be more excited.

Statistical credits: Baseball-Reference.com
Photo cred: http://goo.gl/24zy8m

Check out FantasyRundown.com for all of our latest articles and other great fantasy content.

Jared “Minnesota Nice” Hines is a fantasy sports contributor at The Sports Script. Follow him on Twitter @Jared_Hines27!

The Weekly Stream: Defense; Week 14

Vikings Defense
The Vikings get the Geno Smith-led Jets in week 14

As I watch the Dolphins/Jets game wind down on Monday night, I click through my fantasy football lineups. I play in a lot of different leagues, and to be honest I did not do the best this year. The injury bug hit me hard in a couple of leagues, just missed by a game in a couple others, and in one league I just could not do anything right from the beginning. I do not look as closely at those leagues anymore, but instead look at the leagues where I am into the playoffs. I start looking at roster construction for next week, and how good (or bad) my matchups might be. Week 1 of the playoffs starts for many leagues in week 14, and so this week is crucial for picking the best lineups. This includes the best streaming options on defense. Last week, three of my leagues had a playoff spot that came down to one matchup. The guys who won all had defenses that had great weeks! They do make a difference. Before we look at week 14 targets, let’s see how we did last week:

Last Week’s Results:

The Rams were the highest scoring defense of the week after their 52-0 rout of the Raiders. If you took my advice, you were rewarded with 29 standard fantasy points. The Rams had 3 interceptions, 2 fumble recoveries, 6 sacks and a touchdown. Oh yeah, they didn’t allow a single point either. The Rams head to Washington to face a struggling Redskins team. Their ownership jumped to 50% last week, but if other owners in your league passed it’s time to make the add. The Colts played Washington last week and although they recorded a solid 11 fantasy points, I thought they would go completely nuts. They scored a touchdown and sacked Colt McCoy 6 times but allowed 27 points. The Texans are used to giving up points on a weekly basis, but this does not stop them from continuing to put up great fantasy numbers. JJ Watt led his unit to 11 fantasy points on the back of a fumble recovery and 3 interceptions. Houston heads to Jacksonville next week, meaning I don’t have to dig any deeper here. You know what to do.

Week 14 Targets:

I mentioned a couple of the defenses that I targeted last week and how their matchups this week are just as good, if not better than last week. Besides the Rams and Texans, here is another team to look at as we reach crunch time!

  • Minnesota Vikings: Mike Zimmer is a defensive genius. He has turned the Vikings defense from absolutely horrendous to reliable on a week-to-week basis. There are still a couple problems in the secondary but overall this defense is well improved and their fantasy numbers show it. Now they come home to TCF Bank Stadium and get the New York Jets. The Jets are coming off a short week after their Monday night loss to the Dolphins. And yes, Geno Smith is still awful. I’m expecting big things out of this unit in week 14.

NOTE: As the waivers come available this week make sure you take a look at the defenses that people are dropping to make room for other players. Many owners stick with one defense during the playoffs and kick the other one to the curb. While many of the defenses with great matchups this week are owned in 75-95% of leagues, that does not mean they are not available in your league. Watch the waiver wire closely this week as we head into the fantasy playoffs.

Good luck, and as always, happy streaming!

Photo cred: http://goo.gl/i7hWtQ

Check out FantasyRundown.com for all of our latest articles and other great fantasy content.

Jared “Minnesota Nice” Hines is a fantasy football contributor at The Sports Script. Follow him on Twitter @Jared_Hines27!

The Weekly Stream: Defense; Week 13

Josh Huff Kickoff Return
Different week, same result. Yet another touchdown for the Eagles D/ST. Is this unit matchup proof?

The best catch of the week, the year, and maybe the decade (depending who you ask) came in week 12 . Odell Beckham went up and somehow came down with the football, even after being grabbed by the Dallas defender. I have watched the catch on Vine over and over and I still cannot figure out how he caught that ball. After watching him play at LSU and seeing some of his warmup catches before last Sunday’s game, I am not surprised that he would be the one to do such a thing. I was watching the game with my brother and the catch actually made him yell out loud. He stood there in disbelief as we watched the replay over and over and over. Speaking of over and over and over, I have been the advocate for streaming any defense against Jacksonville this year. I have told you over and over and (for the most part) it has worked out in your favor. As we move to week 13, Odell’s New York Giants get to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars. While I do think that the fighting Giants will win this game, I do not believe that the Giants are a good streaming option this year. They are the 30th ranked defense in fantasy and haven’t proven that they can succeed, even when given great opportunity. Before I tell you who I do think will succeed, let’s take a look at how we did last week.

Last Week’s Results:

The Eagles have been the fantasy game’s best defense this year. It’s that simple, and while I am all for streaming a defense, the Eagles have been pretty matchup proof. You can use them on a weekly basis and expect great results. I recommended them last week, and the game started with Philly returning the opening kickoff 109 yards for a touchdown. They also tacked on an interception, two fumble recoveries and five sacks. This performance was good for 16 standard fantasy points. Money. My other recommendation was the Colts. Obviously we’re going to want to use them, they faced Jacksonville! 4 sacks, a fumble recovery and a pick later, the Colts defense did their job. They only gave up a field goal to the lowly Jacksonville offense. Oh, and the Colts get the Redskins at home this week.

Week 13 Targets:

  • Saint Louis Rams: The Rams are not having a very good season. The loss of quarterback Sam Bradford and other injuries on their line have left them struggling to win games. Currently 4-7, the Rams play their best when they play really good teams. 3 of their wins have come against the Broncos, Seahawks and 49ers. This week they get the Oakland Raiders, and while the Chiefs could not get it done against them, the Rams will be ready to play. Oakland is coming off their first win of the year and might not win another game for the rest of the year. The Rams have 4 interceptions in their last 3 games and have averaged 10 fantasy points in the past 4 weeks (41 to be exact). Only 24% owned, the Rams are a great streaming option in week 13.
  • Houston Texans: The Texans have been interesting all year. Their offense has struggled to keep it together, which has caused their defense to have to spend extra time on the field. They have one of, if not the best defensive line in football, and they have risen to the challenge. This week, the Texans have a date with the Tennessee Titans who just allowed 5 sacks in their last game. I expect at least that many for JJ Watt and the Houston defense. I’m not worried about the Titans putting up some points, as the Texans defense has proven valuable even while allowing some touchdowns. Houston is my play of the week, and the defense that I will look to stream going into the most important week of the year before the fantasy playoffs.
  • Indianapolis Colts: I love the Colts this year. Their defense is good, their quarterback is a rising star (maybe you’ve heard of him) and they just play great football. Earlier in this article I showed you how I used the Colts defense last week against the Jaguars and was rewarded for doing so. This week as I mentioned, Washington comes into Indianapolis and I expect much of the same. The Colts have had 5 double-digit fantasy weeks, 4 of them coming at home. Their ownership totals jumped up last week as many streamed them against the Jags but at just over 50% owned, it is worth a shot to see if you can snag them up in your league for the upcoming tilt.

In most leagues this is the final week before the playoffs and many teams need a win. If your defense has a bad matchup or a bad schedule for the playoffs now is the time to kick them to the curb. Allow the other teams in the league to pick up those defenses. Now is the time to play matchups and give yourself the best chance to win before it is too late and you are not even playing next week.

Good luck and happy streaming!

Photo cred: http://goo.gl/SloHxJ

Check out FantasyRundown.com for all of our latest articles and other great fantasy content.

Jared “Minnesota Nice” Hines is a fantasy football contributor at The Sports Script. Follow him on Twitter @Jared_Hines27!

The Weekly Stream: Defense; Week 12

The Saint Louis Rams have beaten the Seahawks, 49ers and the Broncos. Jonas Gray had 199 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns on Sunday night. A guy named Bell on the Steelers followed that up the next evening with 203 rushing yards of his own. Odell Beckham showed us that he belongs in a circus with his amazing catches. Finally, the Arizona Cardinals continue to shock the world as they moved to 9-1 with their starting quarterback sitting on the bench. All these things happened in one weekend in the NFL. “Any Given Sunday” has never been more apparent in the NFL as it has this year and as we move to week 12, we have more story lines to follow. Will Josh Gordon help fantasy owners who have held on to him all year? Will Oakland ever win a game? These are a couple of the many questions that we have as we move to week 12, but there is one question we can answer right now.

Who are we going to stream for a defense this week!

Last Week’s Results:

In week 11 we decided to take a chance on teams that were coming off the bye. All three had favorable matchups and extra rest to prepare them for their opponent. The San Diego Chargers gave us double-digit fantasy points in by only allowing 6 points to the Oakland Raiders. They also got to David Carr twice. This week they face a Rams squad coming off a huge win but that should fall right back down to earth. I’m looking for a huge week out of the Chargers defense. The Houston Texans also provided good value if you streamed them off their bye. Allowing the Browns only 7 points and sacking Hoyer twice, the Texans gave owners 8 fantasy points in a crucial week before the regular season dwindles down. The huge disappointment of the week was my hometown Minnesota Vikings. While they did pick off Jay Cutler twice, they also allowed the Bears to score 21 points and didn’t record any sacks after recording 30 in the 4 weeks prior. Now they face a Green Bay Packer team that looks like one of the best in the NFL. The Vikings defense will take a rest on the waiver wire this week before a couple of good matchups in the fantasy playoffs.

Week 12 Targets:

The Chiefs have a great week 12 matchup against the Raiders ahead
The Chiefs have a great week 12 matchup against the Raiders ahead
  • Kansas City Chiefs: While Kansas City has to travel to the West Coast to play this game on Thursday night, I love the matchup. I had to double take when I saw that the Chiefs were only 60% owned in ESPN leagues. They are the 10th best fantasy defense and have not recorded a negative point total all season. If they are not owned in your league, you should plug and play them in week 12. This is my favorite matchup of the week!
  • Indianapolis Colts: Many owners saw that the Colts were playing the Patriots last week and clicked drop. Currently, the Colts defense is only owned in 25% of leagues. Let’s look at this matchup schedule the rest of the year: Jacksonville, Washington, Cleveland, Houston, Dallas. While I love the Chiefs matchup for week 12, you also have to love the matchup for Indianapolis against the Jaguars. The Jaguars give up the most points to fantasy defenses. If you are in playoff contention and need a defense to lead you the rest of the way, the Colts are your squad. While I believe the Chiefs might do better this week, the Colts will do owners better throughout the rest of the year. Go and get them!
  • Philadelphia Eagles: This seems like a weird sentence to type. The number one fantasy defense is available in 35% of fantasy leagues. Yes, the Eagles have been a season-changer for owners lucky enough to have them. Last week they faced the Packers and they struggled like many thought they would. Now, the Eagles get the opportunity to face the Titans, Dallas (twice), Seattle and Washington from now until week 16. While the Seattle matchup will be dangerous, the Eagles have done well against good teams this year and will be able to help you out as the playoffs begin in a couple of weeks.

I feel confident in my week 12 selections. The fact that some of the top defenses are sitting on the waiver wire as we head to the playoffs is an opportunity for owners to take advantage of their opponents. Play the matchups wisely and you’ll be the one holding the trophy at the end of the year.

Happy streaming, and good luck in week 12.

Photo cred: http://goo.gl/VzYz1L

Check out FantasyRundown.com for all of our latest articles and other great fantasy content.

Jared “Minnesota Nice” Hines is a fantasy football contributor at The Sports Script. Follow him on Twitter @Jared_Hines27!

The Weekly Stream: Defense; Week 11

We made it. Well, at least I did. I can’t speak for you.

You may be asking yourself, “what is he talking about?”

The worst of the bye weeks are over!

Over the past two weeks, there have been 12 teams on the bye. Not only does it force the offensive studs from your lineup, but your reliable defensive units as well. Although streaming your defense is a sound strategy, there are several defenses that are indeed matchup-proof. It’s nice to be able to set it and forget it, you know? The Philadelphia Eagles have surely been one of those defenses. They induce lots of sacks and strips, and have a unit that can score at any time. Whether it be on a turnover or a Darren Sproles run-back, this unit has been putting up monster numbers. Through 10 weeks, the Eagle defense has nine touchdowns. Nine!

Wait, how many touchdowns again?

How the Eagles defense is unowned in over 35% of leagues is a mystery. Although they have a tough matchup against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers this week, they have a favorable schedule throughout the remainder of the regular season.

Enough about the Eagles, how did I do last week?

Last Week’s Results:

The Cowboys took care of business in London Sunday, beating the Jags 31 to 17, en route to 11 standard fantasy points. Blake Bortles struggled once again and Dallas took full advantage. While the Cowyboys only managed one interception, they were able to record four sacks and recover two fumbles. The Cowboys are on a bye in week 11 but may be usable when they return in week 13 against Eli Manning and the G-men. Even though the Steelers were a letdown against the Jets, allowing them 20 points, they may be worth another look this week against the Titans. The black and yellow recorded four sacks on their way to a 6-point fantasy day. Not horrible, all things considered. Finally, I recommended Buffalo at the end of last week’s column, and they ended up performing well. The unit is now 75% owned in fantasy and are the 5th highest scoring defense in the fake game. They were able to get to Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith six times and rack up 11 fantasy points. It would be hard not to use them this week in Miami, as they have scored double-digit points five times this year.

Week 11 Targets:

This week, we are going to take a look at three teams that did not play in week 10. All three teams are coming off a week of rest and should be ready to face their opponent. They have had an extra week to look at film and prepare and hopefully putting them on your team will lead you to a win in week 11.

  • Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings are one of the few teams who have had positive fantasy value every single week this year. They have also produced 41 fantasy points in the past three weeks. This week, they get a Bears team that was just humiliated on Sunday Night Football against the Packers. Jay Cutler is a turnover machine right now and the Vikings should be ready to take full advantage on Sunday. The purple people eaters defense is my play of the week.
  • San Diego Chargers: This unit was brutal the two weeks before their bye. They allowed Denver and Miami to score a combined 72 points. Seventy-two, yikes. Still, both games were away and now they get to come home and see the Raiders and Rams in back-to-back weeks. Owned in just 23.6% of ESPN leagues, the Chargers are a great defensive add if you need a filler for a couple of weeks. After that, they have a date with the Ravens, followed by games against Manning and Brady. Ouch.
  • Houston Texans: Houston’s bye week came after a 12-point fantasy performance against the Eagles, who looked like one of the best teams in the NFL in week 10 with Mark Sanchez under center. Still, the Texans are owned in half of ESPN leagues and are ranked #7 at the position so far in 2014. Over the next month they face the Browns, Bengals, Titans and Jaguars before heading to Indianapolis for week 15. If available, the Texans are a big boy add considering their schedule as we head into the fantasy playoffs. I smell a Brian Hoyer pick-6 and a nice fantasy point total for Houston this week.

There you have it! Good luck and happy streaming.

Jared “Minnesota Nice” Hines is a fantasy football contributor at The Sports Script. Follow him on Twitter @Jared_Hines27!

Adrian Peterson: What’s Next?

Adrian Peterson has only played one game yet this season stemming from a report that he hit his son with a tree branch this spring. No matter your opinions on the issue, the facts are that Adrian Peterson hasn’t been a fantasy producer for you and many are wondering if (and when) he will be allowed back on the field.

Adrian Peterson Court
Peterson appeared in court this afternoon and could see the field again much sooner than we thought

Today, Peterson pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor reckless assault charge, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. He was in a Texas courtroom with his wife, mother and attorneys as the proceeding went into session this afternoon.

Peterson was facing felony child abuse charges a few weeks ago but those charges have been dropped down to the misdemeanor charges mentioned above as Peterson agreed to in a plea deal. Remember that a plea is not necessarily admitting anything, but allows the citizen to face a lesser charge to avoid court costs and potential jail time.

Adrian “All Day” Peterson will be on probation all-day for 730 consecutive days (or two years) and will be fined approximately $4,000 plus court expenses. Another part of the plea deal would be Adrian issuing a public service announcement. This will cover half of his 80 hours of community service that he was given with the plea.

For those of you who missed (or forgot) what Peterson said originally when the story came out, he admitted to punishing his child using the same discipline techniques that were used on him when he was younger. He is currently receiving his full salary from the Minnesota Vikings (11.7 million) and has talked about how he just wants to get back to work.

Vikings teammate Kyle Rudolph said it would be crazy not to want him back in the locker room. “Anytime you can have a veteran back in that locker room, the leader that he is in the locker room, out on the practice field would be huge for us.”

As for now, Rick Spielman said that he is going to hold on discussing the Peterson situation “until it was appropriate to speak about it.” Still, with Kyle Rudolph hoping to come back in week 11, and a young Teddy Bridgewater needing a leader, the locker room is full of people from the Vikings organization that want Adrian back with the team.

The other twist on this roller coaster of a story is what the NFL might do with AP. He has now plead to a misdemeanor and not a felony so it will be tough for them to hold him out much longer, if at all. The Vikings are paying him in full, so even though most (if not all) disagree with what he did; they will want him back on the field in the immediate future.

The Vikings have a bye in week 10, along with five other teams. Adrian Peterson is a must own player (obviously) if he is on the field. Many people drafted him #1 overall or spent a significant share of auction dollars on him. If they gave up on him (and many did), scramble to pick him up in your league if you have room on your roster. Fantasy owners that are already sitting comfortable for the playoffs could even offer trades to get AP. As waivers go through Wednesday and Thursday, I fully expect Adrian Peterson to jump back to near 100% ownership. If the NFL suspends him two more games, he could be back for weeks 12 or 13, just in time to help you win your fantasy championship.

Photo cred: http://goo.gl/Oz7zJT

Jared “Minnesota Nice” Hines is a fantasy football contributor at The Sports Script. Follow him on Twitter @Jared_Hines27!