rankings

Nick’s 2016 NFL Preview

I know it’s been a few years since I posted an NFL preview, but I really wanted to write something about sports and wrote about 3,000 words over the last two days to satisfy that urge. Below you can find the records I predict for each team in football, as well as who I think will make the postseason.  (more…)

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL RANKINGS: WEEK 12

by Nicholas Cicale (@nickcicale)

There are only two weeks left in the college football season, but they’re the most important of the year and could cause the most movement in the ranks.

Rivalry week will bring up key games between ranked teams: Florida vs. FSU, Notre Dame vs. Stanford, Baylor vs. TCU, Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State, Ohio State vs. Michigan, UCLA vs. USC, Texas A&M vs LSU, and Ole Miss vs. Mississippi State. Also, one-loss Navy and Houston will square off to see which team was the best of the mid majors this season, and the winner will most likely find themselves in the top 25 at season’s end.

The most notable losses this week were Ohio State and Oklahoma State, but former undefeated teams that lost to games against their conference’s toughest competition. Oklahoma State still has an outside chance if they take care of business against Oklahoma, and some of the team’s ahead of them fall. Ohio State needs a lot of help from things out of their control and would have to win against two really difficult opponents to jump up into the top 4. It could happen, but it’s highly unlikely.

One team to keep an eye on is North Carolina. They haven’t lost since the first week of the year, and if they can somehow upset Clemson in two weeks, they would have a really strong resume. Probably not top-4 worthy, but it’s cool to see a new face near the top.

cfb week 12

COLLEGE FOOTBALL RANKINGS: WEEK 11

by Nicholas Cicale (@nickcicale)

There are only three weeks of games left before the College Football Playoff, but there is still plenty of time for things to change near the top of the polls with rivalry week and conference championship games on their way.

One rank I would like defend is Ohio State at 12. I know they’re defending champions and they’re undefeated, but the best two teams they’ve played this season are Minnesota and Penn State, neither of which are all that impressive, and they haven’t completely blown out the weak teams they’ve been up against either. This shows that these ranks are doing their job: to grade a teams based on what they’ve done so far this season, and not to factor in their preseason perception. Also, just because Ohio State is ranked 12 doesn’t mean they’re far out of the playoffs. Their last three games will be against Michigan, Michigan State, and Iowa in the Big 10 Championship game, and if they win all three, there’s no way they get left out.

Another similar situation has been happening in the Big 12. The top teams in the Big 12 were all lower than their record would probably indicate for the majority of this season because they all scheduled their hardest games the last three weeks of the season. Therefore, even with one loss already, Oklahoma, TCU and Baylor have a chance to really jump up the rankings if any of them go through these last three games unscathed. That would, however, require them to beat undefeated Oklahoma State, who’s the best chance for the conference to cement themselves in the playoff picture.

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL RANKINGS: Week 10

by Nicholas Cicale (@nickcicale)

There were a lot of games between ranked teams in week 10, and as a result a lot of change near the top of the rankings. Clemson clinched their division, and beat FSU for the first time in four seasons, making them a pretty strong number 1 with a really good chance to go undefeated. Even with one loss, Alabama cemented themselves in the playoff race by beating LSU. TCU, who hadn’t been tested by a decent team all season, lost big to Oklahoma State, who is now up in the top 4 and has two more chances to impress to close out the season. Also in the top four, Iowa, probably the most consistent Big 10 team this season. Iowa’s only flaw is they have had a very week schedule and their only chance of being test is in the Big 10 Championship game.

Undefeated teams that lost this week were LSU (dropped from 1 to 8),TCU (3 to 12), Michigan State (8 to 15),   Memphis (21 to unranked), and Toledo (23 to unranked).

 

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Risks Worth Taking Late In Your Fantasy Football Draft

by Nicholas Cicale (@nickcicale)

On Thursday, I posted a column that talked about the idea of “drafting with hindsight,” an exercise that is meant to help identify high upside plays that may be going too early in the draft, and where projections might stand in the way of common scenes. While picking the right guys with upside could really help elevate your team, by missing on one in the opening rounds, you put yourself at a massive disadvantage from the start.

If you’re going to draft with hindsight in the six rounds or so, it’s nice to utilize the last few picks of your draft on players you think can vastly over perform their draft position, thus giving you a potential edge at the back end of your roster. This is where I want to draft rookies that could break out, players who could see an expanded roll at some point in the season, or historically proven players coming off an unexpectedly bad season.

In this column I’ve listed a few of the guys at each position I would target late. I think the guys on this list have an outside shot at performing much more than their draft-day value, however, it’s very possible that you drop them from your team after a week or two due to lack of performance. Therefore, I just to make sure everybody understands, these are guys I would ONLY take in the final round or two of a draft. I wouldn’t take them any earlier because of their huge bust potential, and wouldn’t want to have to start any of them on day one.

Quarterbacks

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2015 Fantasy Football Points Predictions

by Nicholas Cicale (@nickcicale)

It’s the first Monday of August, which means we’re a little over a month away from the start to the NFL season. If you’re serious about fantasy football, now’s the perfect time to start your fantasy draft prep, especially if you want to create a baseline before all the preseason story lines and hype start altering your opinions of players.

Here are my preliminary offseason positional projections for quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends. These players aren’t listed in order of when I would draft them, but who I think should get the most points this season (trust me, there’s a difference).

I’ll be updating my projections throughout the preseason, and will be posting more in-depth looks at the numbers occasionally on twitter.  (more…)