DAN TACKLES THE FANTASY FOOTBALL ANOMALY KNOWN AS TIM TEBOW IN THIS WEEK'S START HIM! SIT HIM!
If anyone ever asks you to explain fantasy football to them, you can do so by simply stating: Anyone who is good in real life, is good in fantasy.
It’s a generalization, but it really is true. Any QB who throws for 4,000 yards in real life is good in fantasy. Any RB or WR who has over 1,200 yards is good in fantasy. Any defense that is tough to score on is good in fantasy.
So how, then, do you explain that Tim Tebow is valuable in fantasy football?
Our own eyes tell us it can’t be possible. His delivery of the football is so awkward and painful looking it has lead many to question whether or not he is actually left-handed.
He overthrows open receivers 25 yards downfield on one play, then he short-hops a receiver ten yards in front of him on the next. His lack of arm strength is extremely perplexing, given the fact that he is built like a Roman gladiator.
He simply can’t throw a football.
If Tim Tebow showed up at your annual Turkey Bowl next Thursday on Thanksgiving, and you didn’t know who he was, odds are he wouldn’t even be chosen as the QB for your game. Linebacker? Sure. Tight End? Probably. But chances are there is at least one person in your immediate family who can throw a football further, and looks more natural doing it, than Tim Tebow.
So, how good is he in fantasy football?
Since relieving Kyle Orton in the fourth quarter of Denver’s Week 5 loss to San Diego, Tebow has averaged a whopping 17.6 fantasy points; good for fifth among QBs on a per-game average this season.
Here’s a list of QBs he currently ranks ahead of:
Eli Manning: 17.4
Michael Vick: 16.7
Tony Romo: 16.2
Ben Roethlisberger: 15.2
Philip Rivers: 14.5
That’s an impressive list, but where do his points come from?
Everybody knows about his legs, and he is rushing for an impressive 44.8 yards per game since taking over for Orton; second only to Michael Vick (59.4 YPG) among QBs.
Those yards are nice, but they only account for four fantasy points-per-game, so naturally he must be running for a bunch of TDs, right? Wrong. His two rushing TDs are five less than Cam Newton and one less than Mark Sanchez. He’s even tied with noted human statues Matt Schaub and Matt Ryan.
So, obviously he must be throwing for more yards than we would expect, right? Wrong. His 121 yards passing rank dead last in the league since he took over in Week 5.
His 105 passing attempts? Yup, last. His 47 completions? 32 out of 32.
OK, one last time then: How is he doing it?
Believe it or not, he’s putting up the points by doing the one basic task that you ask a QB to do: Throw TDs.
Since taking over for Kyle Orton, Tebow has thrown seven touchdown passes. Here’s a list of a notable players with fewer passing scores over the same period:
Joe Flacco: 3
Michael Vick: 5
Jay Cutler: 6
Cam Newton: 6
Matt Hasselbeck: 6
Maybe that isn’t a “who’s-who” list of elite QBs, but ESPN doesn’t lead off SportsCenter on a nightly basis talking about how they throw like pregnant women either.
Something else that gets lost in the shuffle when talking about Tebow: He doesn’t really turn the ball over. With the exception of his indescribably bad Week 8 game against Detroit, where he threw one INT and fumbled three times, he has only had one turnover in the other four games in which he has played significant minutes this season.
Literally every “big name” QB in the NFL, with the exception of The Video Game Cheat Code Known As Aaron Rodgers and Tony Romo (each with two) has more turnovers than Tebow’s five since Week 5.
Just to name a few:
Matt Stafford: 6
Ben Roethlisberger: 6
Drew Brees: 7
Tom Brady: 8
Eli Manning: 9
Michael Vick: 9
Philip Rivers: 15
Each turnover deducts two points, so while Tebow has lost ten points (or two points per game) over those five weeks; Philip Rivers is costing his owners six per game.
He may not succeed in the most conventional way – and that’s part of the reason why he receives so much flack – but the fact of the matter is, he is succeeding; both in fantasy and in winning NFL games.
Whether your fantasy QB throws for a flashy 300 yards and two TDs, or if he only manages 100 yards through the air with one TD while rushing for 60 yards and a second TD, is inconsequential; because at the end of the day, you still have the same 20 points to show for it.
As fantasy owners, the one thing we have in common with Tebow (in addition to looking incredibly awkward when we try to throw a football left-handed) is that neither of us are awarded style-points; we only get wins or losses.
He may never throw for 4,000 yards in a season or make a Pro Bowl, but in the world of fantasy football, it’s time to accept Tim Tebow for what he is, as it pertains to us: A top-flight option at QB.
Now before we get into Week 11 it’s time to look back at last week’s START HIM! SIT HIM! and see how I did:
QB Mark Sanchez – Projected * 238 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT (15 Points)
Actual * 306 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT, 11 rushing yards, 1 rushing TD (19 Points)
Similar to Tebow, Sanchez doesn’t usually rack up many style points. He looked confused, at times, against New England and did little to help the Jets win, as they were dismantled by the Patriots 37-16, but he certainly filled up the fantasy box score.
His 306 yards passing were somewhat unexpected, but with one TD passing and another rushing, Sanchez satisfied owners everywhere who rolled the dice with him on Sunday.
QB Matt Schaub – Projected * 215 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT (10 Points)
Actual * 242 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT (17 Points)
Despite completing only eleven passes against the Bucs, Schaub put up impressive numbers across the board. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out the horrendous tackling display put on by Tampa Bay during Jacoby Jones’ 80 yard TD to start the game, and Arian Foster’s 78 yard TD on a simple dump-off that accounted for 158 of Schaub's 242 passing yards on the day.
Schaub also had one rushing yard on one attempt in the game that would otherwise be inconsequential if he didn’t sustain a (painful, but always fun to say) Lisfranc fracture to his foot that will cause him to miss the rest of the season. Still, he did plenty of damage while he was in the game, handing me the loss.
RB Roy Helu – Projected * 110 total yards, 1 TD (17 Points)
Actual * 54 total yards, 0 TD (5 Points)
Last week I dared Mike Shannahan to go away from Roy Helu following a ten-carry, fourteen-reception game in which Helu accounted for 146 of the Redskins' 303 total yards in their loss to the 49ers. Clearly feeling challenged by my remarks, Shannahan limited Helu to just six carries, despite out-producing Ryan Torrain – who received eleven carries – by nearly a 4:1 margin in yards-per-attempt.
I see you, Mike, I see you.
RB Maurice Morris – Projected * 47 yards, 0 TD (4 Points)
Actual * 44 yards, 0 TD (4 Points)
The Lions never really had a chance to establish the run-game, as they were trailing the Bears by double figures for nearly the entire game, causing Matt Stafford to attempt an astonishing 63 passes.
Predictably, Morris’s stat-line suffered, and he finished the game with a mere four fantasy points. Terrific performance turned in by the Bears’ Defense, and it helps serve as yet another reminder that you shouldn’t start mediocre talent against a stout defense.
WR Antonio Brown – Projected * 73 yards, 1 TD (13 Points)
Actual * 86 yards, 0 TD (8 Points)
As was the case last week with Stevie Johnson’s eight fantasy points, Brown and his eight points represent fantasy mediocrity. As was the case last week, I think anyone who started him would be happy with their decision and anyone who benched him was also fine with their decision. I recommended him as a start, and I’m content with the results, so this goes as a win.
Hey! I told you to stop rolling your eyes at me!
WR Larry Fitzgerald – Projected * 61 yards, 0 TD (6 Points)
Actual * 146 yards, 2 TD (26 Points)
Sometimes you just take a shot.
Earlier this year I took a shot and said to sit Philip Rivers against the Jets, and I was right. I also said to sit Arian Foster against the Ravens, and I was wrong. Last week, I said to sit Larry Fitzgerald (which I actually did in one of my leagues) against the Eagles, and I was very, verrrry wrong.
I figured that the Eagles could manage to cover the one playmaker that the Cardinals have on the offensive side of the ball, but despite all of their high-priced talent in the secondary, they were unable to do it. It goes without saying, but this goes as a very ugly stain on my not-so-stellar record.
TE Visanthe Shiancoe – Projected * I just think he’ll score (6+ Points)
Actual * 33 yards, 0 TD (3 Points)
Let’s see, carry the two… add the one… OK, yup, loss.
TE Marcedes Lewis – Projected * I just don’t think he’ll score (Sub-6 Points)
Actual * -4 yards, 0 TD (0 Points)
I took up the game of golf when I was 14 years old. My sister, who was 17 at the time, caught up with me on the seventh tee-box and wanted to hit one ball. On her first swing, she hit down on the ball at such a strange angle that it actually went backwards.
It didn’t ricochet off something and go backwards; no, it actually went straight into the ground and rolled about five yards behind where she hit it.
Physics alone say it’s basically impossible for the ball to go straight backwards when you make contact with it while swinging a golf club – but I’m here to tell you that I saw it with my own eyes. It happened.
I bring this story up because my first reaction when I saw Marcedes Lewis’s stat-line from Sunday’s game against the Colts was to think, “That’s just as impossible as my sister hitting a golf ball backwards.”
Lewis is 6’6” tall and weighs 275 pounds, so it isn’t like they are running bubble-screens for him on the outside. I can’t find a video of it anywhere, but I’m absolutely dying to know how someone the size of Elton Brand, whose job it is to stretch the middle of the field, ended a game with -4 yards receiving.
If anyone can find a video of it, please send it to me. I have to know how this happened for my own peace of mind.
Browns’ Defense – Projected * 13 points allowed, 3 sacks, 3 turnovers (14 Points)
* 13 points allowed, 1 sack, 2 turnovers (10 Points)
The Browns’ secondary tormented Sam Bradford, holding him to a Tebow-esque 155 yards passing on the day. It wasn’t enough to give them a win, however, as they lost to the Rams on the botched snap of a short field goal in the waning seconds of the game. But as fantasy footballers, we are savages and we don’t really care about the games themselves. Thanks for the defensive effort, Cleveland!
Saints’ Defense – Projected * 31 points allowed, 3 sacks, 1 turnover (4 Points)
Actual * 23 points allowed, 1 sack, 1 turnover (-1 Points)
The Saints’ Defense surrendered a shocking 481 total yards in the game, yet still pulled out a dramatic win in overtime. But, as I just stated, we are savages and don’t really care about that stuff – just give me the win and let’s move on.
That brings my record for the week to a tolerable, yet undistinguished, 6-4. For those of you keeping track at home, I think that makes six synonyms for “mediocre” that I’ve used to describe my record on the season.
On to Week 11!
QB Carson Palmer – Projected * 268 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT (16 Points)
In one of my leagues I have Drew Brees, who is on a bye this week, so I had to scour the waiver wire for a QB. Upon realizing that the pickings are Calista Flockhart-thin at QB, I suddenly wished I didn’t have to pick up any of them.
Alas, I do, and undoubtedly other owners out there who have to find a fill-in for Brees or have to replace Lisfranc Schaub do as well, so I did some digging and finally decided on Palmer.
Just two weeks ago I was making jokes to my friends about Palmer and questioning whether Cincy would even offer Oakland a 7th rounder to take him back, as he was clearly washed up. Well, in the two weeks since, Palmer has thrown for 631 yards and five touchdowns. Obviously, his six turnovers during that span don’t make him the most appealing option, but facing an overmatched Vikings’ secondary, who will be without their top CB Antoine Winfield for the remainder of the season, Palmer looks like the best of a not-so-appealing bunch this week.
QB Tim Tebow – Projected * Some Hideous Amalgamation Of Statistics That Result In (9 Points)
“Dude! You were just singing Tebow’s praises and now you are saying to sit him!? Stop writing about fantasy sports from your Mom's basement and leave the projections to people who know what they are doing, you loser!”
First of all, that’s a really mean thing to say, and I'm pretty offended by it, even though I was the one who said it.
Second of all, even though he has done well to this point, Tebow still isn’t matchup proof. He has flaws that can be exploited by good defenses. I don’t know about you, but I don’t consider the Dolphins, Raiders or Chiefs (who have given up the 29th, 27th and 16th highest number of fantasy points to opposing QBs) to have particularly good defenses.
The one good defense Tebow has faced this year, Detroit, forced him to turn the ball over four times in a 45-10 thrashing in Week 8. Detoit has allowed the fifth fewest number of fantasy points to opposing QBs this season; the team Tebow faces this Thursday, the Jets, have allowed the third fewest.
I’m on board with Tebow as a top-flight option in fantasy for the remainder of the season, but you are braver than I am if you put him in your lineup this week, as he awkwardly lobs balls in the general direction of Darrelle Revis and company.
RB Marshawn Lynch – Projected * 88 yards, 1 TD (14 Points)
What do you get when you combine average talent with great opportunity? Well, in fantasy sometimes you still get average results, but other times you end up with a bunch of points.
No one is going to confuse Lynch with his counterpart from last Sunday, Ray Rice, in terms of talent, but would you believe that Lynch has actually has more fantasy points (73) over the past five weeks than Rice (71)?
Here is Lynch’s carry-total from the last five games in order: 8, 12, 16, 23, 32. He has scored exactly one TD in each of those five games; a streak he brings with him to St. Louis this weekend to take on the Rams and their 32nd ranked rush-defense. Get Lynch in your lineups this week.
RB Shonn Greene – Projected * 65 total yards, 0 TD (6 Points)
What do Shonn Greene and Marshawn Lynch have in common? They are both very average talents in the NFL.
What is the least similar thing about them? In the last five games where Lynch has seen his carry-total rise, here is a look at Greene’s carry-total: 21, 21, 20, 19, 13.
In addition to seeing a decreased workload, Greene also isn’t finding the end zone. With only two rushing touchdowns all season, he just isn’t producing like an every-week starter in fantasy should. Sit Greene this week, and leave him on your bench until he gets things going.
WR Denarius Moore – Projected * 83 yards, 1 TD (14 Points)
OK, I just listed him as the START HIM! WR only two weeks ago, but something has changed since then. In the two weeks since Palmer took over as the starting QB he has identified Moore as his go-to receiver.
In those games, Moore has been targeted a team-high 19 times; two-and-a-half times more than the second most-targeted receiver on the team, Jacoby Ford, who has eight.
Following Moore’s 123 yard, two TD outburst last Thursday, you have to think he’s a strong play, not only this week, but for the rest of the season.
WR Eric Decker – Projected * 43 yards, 0 TD (4 Points)
Decker has scored a TD and posted at least ten fantasy points in each of the past three weeks, so why is he a SIT! this week?
Well, Decker just so happens to be the fourth winner in 2011 of the, “I don’t know who to recommend as a SIT this week, so I’ll just take the guy Darrelle Revis is covering!” award.
Not much else to say, as even though his recent production would seem to warrant a start, you are playing with fire anytime you start someone Revis is slated to shadow all game long.
TE Benjamin Watson – Projected * I just think he’ll score (6+ Points)
Did you know that the average person spends two years of their life on the phone?
TE Vernon Davis – Projected * I just don’t think he’ll score (Sub-6 Points)
Did you know that a car that shifts manually gets two miles more per gallon of gas than a car that shifts automatically?
Giants’ Defense – Projected * 24 points allowed, 5 sacks, 2 turnovers (11 Points)
I think the Eagles will score plenty of points in this one, and LeSean McCoy will probably have a field day, but the fact of the matter is the Giants can rush the passer with anyone, and the Eagles have trouble protecting their QB.
The possibility of a defensive TD always increases when a team has speed on the outside. One tipped ball at the line of scrimmage, or a sack-fumble, and they could be off to the races.
If you are looking for a spot-start defense, go with one that can overwhelm the opposition in at least one facet of the game, and the Giants can definitely do that to the Eagles.
Bills’ Defense – Projected * 27 points allowed, 2 sacks, 1 turnover (4 Points)
I’m putting Buffalo here because ESPN has them ranked as the #5 defense in fantasy this week. Just because they are playing the Dolphins doesn’t mean they are going to be in for a big day. Matt Moore has actually been relatively respectable, as he has limited his turnovers to just four over his last three games.
No, he isn’t a top-tier option, but with a solid run-game around him and Brandon Marshall to throw to, he should be able to exploit a below-average Buffalo secondary this weekend.
Good luck to everyone this week, and that goes double for anyone taking on an owner with Adrian Peterson, as he faces the hapless Raiders’ rush-defense.
START HIM! SIT HIM! Season Record: 55-45
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