Punch Drunk Wonderland

Fantasy Football for Casino Players

Fantasy Football is one of the fastest growing games in the world. People used to watch every Sunday to root on their favorite teams or just to watch a game between two good teams. Now people have to keep track of every game they have a fantasy player involved in. In the old days, fans were either thrilled or upset based on how their favorite team fared on Sunday. Now fans can watch their team lose and still be happy because their fantasy players did well.

Fantasy Football can be a lot like casino gambling. Just like gambling in the casino or online where you have games that involve skill like poker or blackjack, or games like roulette where it is almost all luck but can pay huge jackpots; watching your fantasy players perform can be very similar.

Just like the randomness of where the ball will land on the wheel, some players can be red hot one week and awful the next. Some, you can pencil in for the results almost before the game begins. These are the steady players you can count on to help you, but may not win your game.

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 15:  Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers during their game at Bank of America Stadium on December 15, 2013 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

CHARLOTTE, NC – DECEMBER 15: Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers during their game at Bank of America Stadium on December 15, 2013 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

If you want one of those players that can explode in any given week, Cam Newton comes to mind. Much like spinning the roulette wheel and putting all your chips on one number, Cam can score you big points on his good weeks. But then there are his bad weeks you might also get stuck with. He is capable of throwing for a touchdown or two and also running for one or two as well, which scores you big points. But there are those games like he had last year quite often, such as the Philadelphia game where he stinks up the joint.

Cam tends to get hurt quite a bit, a common problem with young athletic quarterbacks who like to take off and run with the ball when his receivers are covered. They made plays this way in high school and college and came away unscathed. But this is the NFL, where safeties and linebackers will rock your world no matter how big and fast you think you are. As he gets older and more dinged up, Cam will stay in the pocket a bit longer. This could pay off if he learns to get rid of the ball and not take sacks. But it can be a sure fire loser if he does not and takes big hits, causing fumbles.

The opposite of Cam is Peyton Manning. Manning is going to throw touchdowns every week. On a down week he will still throw two or three. On a good week he might toss five. He won’t get you anything running the ball though. And now that he is getting older, he might have

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) watches play from the sidelines late in the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles in an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013, in Denver. Denver won 52-20. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) watches play from the sidelines late in the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles in an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013, in Denver. Denver won 52-20. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

trouble hitting the deep ball. But no quarterback is smarter and knows defenses better than Peyton Manning. Just like a savvy poker player, if he can figure out a way to beat you without the deep threat; watch out. He will.

Another quarterback in the Manning camp is Tom Brady. Brady is going to rack up yards when he is in because of the Patriots “West Coast Offense” which basically uses short passes as their running game. Until the NFL changes their way of keeping stats and putting these yards as rushing yards instead of passing yards, Brady will always get you points in the Fantasy Games. He will rack up huge numbers in completions and yards, which also makes his receivers huge fantasy players.

Now, let’s talk wide receivers and tight ends. In wide-outs you have two types. You have your super-fast “Deep Threats” that can score you huge points – much like in roulette – if the quarterback can hit them on the seep throw. But if he cannot get the ball down the field, this guy is going to hurt you. Larry Fitzgerald comes to mind here. He is an absolute stud of a

GLENDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 25:  wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals runs with the football after a reception against the St. Louis Rams during the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on November 25, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona. The Rams defeated the Cardinals 31-17.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

wide receiver, but often times he does not have the quarterback that can get him the ball. Also he tends to draw double coverage quite a bit since Anquan Boldin left a few years ago. These speed burners need a good partner so they can work against man coverage, much like Calvin Johnson since the arrival of Golden Tate last season. Tate is your “baccarat guy” as he is going to catch some balls for you every week. His presence makes Johnson less of a “roulette guy” and more like a “blackjack guy.”

Running backs can be tricky in Fantasy Football. Many times a fantasy sports stud will come out of nowhere at the running back position. The problem is he often puts up big numbers in nobody’s league. The trick is to watch for this guy in the preseason. Many times this guy is a rookie or second year player. The average length of a running back’s career in the NFL is four years. That is because these guys take a serious pounding and are usually injured, costing them both speed and endurance.

Blackjack_boardMaurice Jones-Drew was one of these guys a few years ago. For about a three-year stretch, he was much like your “roulette guy” scoring touchdowns and rushing for 100 yards or more almost every week. Pretty soon he was at best a “baccarat guy” as defenses were geared to stop him and the pounding took its toll.

Had you seen him in college when he was a star at UCLA and in the preseason of his rookie year in Jacksonville, and put him on your team, you looked like a genius. Much can also be said about Doug Martin of Tampa Bay two years ago. He was a “roulette guy” two years ago. Last year he was rendered nearly useless because of injuries and also defenses looking for him.

This year’s “roulette guy” at the running back position could very well be Todd Gurley of the Rams. He was an absolute beast in college and the Rams are not the worst team in the league. This guy could be the Rookie of the Year in 2015. But, get him while he’s hot because he’s already been prone to injuries even in his college days.

storm-johnson-jags-01Another possible running back stud this year could be Storm Johnson of the Jaguars. Last season he showed some flashes in limited playing time. He averaged 3.0 per carry, which is not terrible especially considering he had only 29 carries. He also ran for two touchdowns. If he has a breakout season this year and becomes the Jags number one option at running back, imagine if he totes the rock 25 times a game and increases his average by just one yard per carry. We are talking about 100 yards and two the three touchdowns per game.

Would we advise drafting Johnson early in your Fantasy Draft? No. But he could be worth keeping an eye on for a free agent pick up when the back you do draft is just not working out.

If you want a “blackjack” running back, we would recommend Adrian Peterson. He was out of football all of last year with his much publicized legal problems. This is not all bad though as it saved him a year of getting hit. He could come back this year healthy and also with something to prove. Speaking of this, Ray Rice could be worth taking in your draft also. Both of these guys are really talented, especially Peterson. They could have big numbers for you this season.

K. Smelser About K. Smelser
Kelly Smelser is Owner/Senior Writer for Punch Drunk Wonderland and PDFantasy Sports. Architect of the PDW fantasy football world and general spinster of NFL and Fantasy Football news and analysis. Long walks on the beach, sunsets, and other such niceties are also fine...

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