Michael Salfino

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Michael Salfino provides quantitative player and team analysis for the Wall Street Journal and Yahoo! Sports.

  • Saints-Lions tops Week 15 Fantasy Football Power Rankings

    Let’s put a fantasy spin on the this week’s action by ranking the games in expected order of point-producing relevance using the over/under totals from Las Vegas, specifically as listed at VegasInsider.com.

    Note: Dollar values in parentheses denote a player's current week price in the Yahoo Daily Fantasy game. It is displayed for point of reference.

    [Yahoo Daily Fantasy: $10 could win you $30K in our $300K contest for Week 15]

    The Fab Four

    Lions at Saints, Monday, 8:30, O/U 51: Calvin Johnson ($33) basically eliminated his owners last week. The Saints should be a good play at home unless they have decided their leader Sean Payton will not be back. I consider Drew Brees ($33) a top play and it’s nice having something in reserve come Monday. The Lions defense has been all over the map but as I keep saying, matchups are just a tiebreaker. There are not many and perhaps not even any quarterbacks you should play over Brees at home.

    Cardinals at Eagles, Sunday, 8:30, O/U 50.5: David

    Read More »from Saints-Lions tops Week 15 Fantasy Football Power Rankings
  • Week 14 Fantasy Power Rankings: Eyes on Bengals-Steelers clash

    Let’s put a fantasy spin on the this week’s action by ranking the games in expected order of point-producing relevance using the over/under totals from Las Vegas, specifically as listed at VegasInsider.com.

    Note: Dollar values in parentheses denote a player's current week price in the Yahoo Daily Fantasy game. It is displayed for point of reference.

    The Trinity

    1. Saints at Bucs, Sunday, 1:00, O/U 50.5: Drew Brees ($36) on the road again against a hot team that’s playing better defensively and is actually No. 1 in yards allowed per play and above average in yards per pass play, too. So this is not a good matchup. But a theme here all year is that you should not run away or toward matchups based on the opponent of your fantasy player because we’re usually talking about a 5 percent expected boost in points from average to best or worst. There is a bigger effect for better players against bad defenses but we are playing the better players anyway. The Saints are an outlier defense on the

    Read More »from Week 14 Fantasy Power Rankings: Eyes on Bengals-Steelers clash
  • Week 13 Fantasy Football Power Rankings: Brady will find way minus top targets

    Let’s put a fantasy spin on the this week’s action by ranking the games in expected order of point-producing relevance using the over/under totals from Las Vegas, specifically as listed at VegasInsider.com.

    Note: Dollar values in parentheses denote a player's current week price in the Yahoo Daily Fantasy game. It is displayed for point of reference.

    The Triplets

    1. Panthers at Saints, Sunday 4:25 p.m. O/U 49.5: Drew Brees ($39) looked bad last week but the Texans defense is playing top-notch right now. The Saints offense has been about as expected, however, averaging a third-best 401 yards per game. But the Panthers defense has been even better, allowing an NFC fewest 312 yards per game. Cam Newton ($40) kills the Saints (who doesn’t?) with five passing TDs and two rushing scores in his last two games against them. The Panthers defense leads the NFL with 18 picks and four pick-sixes. Devin Funchess ($14) is getting a lot of snaps now (118 last two weeks) and could surprise with a

    Read More »from Week 13 Fantasy Football Power Rankings: Brady will find way minus top targets
  • Week 12 Fantasy Football Power Rankings: Saints-Texans should provide fireworks

    Let’s put a fantasy spin on the this week’s action by ranking the games in expected order of point-producing relevance using the over/under totals from Las Vegas, specifically as listed at VegasInsider.com. 

    Note: Dollar values in parentheses denote a player's current week price in the Yahoo Daily Fantasy game. It is displayed for point of reference.

    [Yahoo Daily Fantasy: $10 could win you $50K in our $350K contest for Week 12]

    The Fab Four

    1. Saints at Texans, Sunday, 1 p.m., O/U 47.5: Should you worry about playing Drew Brees ($40) on the road? Since 2014, he’s averaging 21 points per game at home and 17.8 on the road. That’s still clearly playable on the road, however. Ryan Fitzpatrick would have had a pretty big day vs. this Texans if 1) Devin Smith could catch (he dropped a TD bomb) and 2) if he wasn’t playing the final minutes after seemingly suffering a head injury. So I would not run away from Brees and Brandin Cooks ($29) in this game. You obviously want to play all of your

    Read More »from Week 12 Fantasy Football Power Rankings: Saints-Texans should provide fireworks
  • Week 11 Fantasy Football Power Rankings: Bengals-Cardinals has plenty of intrigue

    Let’s put a fantasy spin on the this week’s action by ranking the games in expected order of point-producing relevance using the over/under totals from VegasInsider.com.

    Note: Dollar values in parentheses denote a player's current week price in the Yahoo Daily Fantasy game. It is displayed for point of reference.

    The Triplets

    1. Bengals at Cardinals, Sunday, 8:30 p.m., O/U 48.5: We’re always going to look for fleas on Andy Dalton ($35). And he gave the naysayers plenty of ammo on Monday night. Now, he gets another prime-time game. On our Breakfast Table Podcast, Yahoo colleague Scott Pianowski and I talked about how Cincy just needs to bench Jeremy Hill ($15) and make Gio Bernard ($22) the lead back. The opposite of what they did last year. Carson Palmer ($37) leads the NFL in averaging 10.8 air yards per attempt. Essentially tied with Cam Newton ($34). And he’s far and away the leader in average per completion. The NFL average is about 6.2. Michael Floyd ($22) is the team’s best

    Read More »from Week 11 Fantasy Football Power Rankings: Bengals-Cardinals has plenty of intrigue
  • Giants-Patriots tops Week 10 Fantasy Football Power Rankings

    Let’s put a fantasy spin on the this week’s action by ranking the games in expected order of point-producing relevance using the over/under totals from Las Vegas, specifically as listed at VegasInsider.com. 

    Note: Dollar values in parentheses denote a player's current week price in the Yahoo Daily Fantasy game. It is displayed for point of reference.

    [Yahoo Daily Fantasy Football: First place wins $100K in our $500K contest for Week 10]

    1. Patriots at Giants, Sunday, 4:25 p.m., O/U 54: Eli Manning ($42) may be overrated because of his two Super Bowl wins over the Patriots, each in the last four-year cycles when they faced New England in the regular season, but he’s not afraid. That’s his greatest strength in spots like this and it’s his greatest weakness because it leads him to throw too many picks. But his teammates will feed off of his fearlessness in this spot. And don’t kid yourself: A big factor in the Patriots’ historic dominance in the NFL is their championship aura. Remember,

    Read More »from Giants-Patriots tops Week 10 Fantasy Football Power Rankings
  • Week 9 Fantasy Football Power Rankings: Patriots will keep rolling

    Let’s put a fantasy spin on the this week’s action by ranking the games in expected order of point-producing relevance using the over/under totals from Las Vegas, specifically as listed at VegasInsider.com.

    Note: Dollar values in parentheses denote a player's current week price in the Yahoo Daily Fantasy game. It is displayed for point of reference.

    [Yahoo Daily Fantasy Football: First place wins $100K in our $500K contest for Week 9]

    The Big Five

    1. Redskins at Patriots, Sunday, 1 p.m., O/U 52: Kirk Cousins ($30) is 6-for-6 with five TDs on third-and-goal passes. A normal rate is about 40 percent. Cousins is only 6.5 yards/attempt this year and thus the prospects for 40 or so attempts due to game flow isn’t that enticing. Let’s give him 250 yards and a TD. LeGarrette Blount ($23) has five doorstep carries (inside the three) and has three TDs. Overall teams are 95/219 in these situations (43.4%). I don’t think anything can stop Tom Brady ($48) and the Patriots passing game this year.

    Read More »from Week 9 Fantasy Football Power Rankings: Patriots will keep rolling
  • Ben Roethlisberger's expected return highlights Week 8 Fantasy Power Rankings

    Let’s put a fantasy spin on the this week’s action by ranking the games in expected order of point-producing relevance using the over/under totals from Las Vegas, specifically as listed at VegasInsider.com.

    Note: Dollar values in parentheses denote a player's current week price in the Yahoo Daily Fantasy game. It is displayed for point of reference.

    [Yahoo Daily Fantasy Football: First place wins $100K in our $600K contest for Week 8]

    The Fab Four

    1. Chargers at Ravens, Sunday, 1:00 p.m., O/U 50.5: Ladarius Green ($14) is a solid play with Antonio Gates out indefinitely. Justin Forsett ($31) gets a bottom-shelf run defense, the worst in the Massey-Peabody rankings, but Forsett has stepped back into journeyman land, averaging 90 total yards per game and scoring just twice. Give him about a 10 percent bump as the quants advise when the defensive opponent ranks so poorly, but that’s not going to get you very far. Melvin Gordon ($17) is a lesson for me with rookie runners in today’s game.

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  • Let’s put a fantasy spin on this week’s action by ranking the games in expected order of point-producing relevance using the over/under totals from Las Vegas, specifically as reflected on Wednesday at VegasInsider.com.

    Note: Dollar values in parentheses denote a player's current week price in the Yahoo Daily Fantasy game. It is displayed for point of reference.

    Points galore

    Saints at Colts, Sunday, 1 p.m., O/U 52: Neither squad plays much defense but the Saints offense is a better bet given the uncertain health of Andrew Luck ($41). Plus Ahmad Bradshaw’s 19 touches could rise further this week and thus limit the potential value of Frank Gore ($29). Target allocation is unpredictable but you want to be aggressive in fielding wide receivers against a very suspect Saints defense. Expect a breakout game from Donte Moncrief ($19). Drew Brees ($39) is throwing for the yards and yards per attempt we expect but the touchdown total has been below par. That should begin correcting this week.

    Read More »from Week 7 Fantasy Football viewer's guide: Saints, Colts should provide fireworks
  • Week 6 Fantasy Football Power Rankings: Tom Brady ready for Colts

    Let’s put a fantasy spin on this week’s action by ranking the games in expected order of point-producing relevance using the over/under totals from Las Vegas, specifically as reflected on Wednesday at VegasInsider.com.

    Note: Dollar values in parentheses denote a player's current week price in the Yahoo Daily Fantasy game. It is displayed for point of reference.

    [Enter Yahoo's 50/50 Contest for an even bigger shot at winning! Top half wins cash]

    The Big Three

    Patriots at Colts, Sunday, 8:30, O/U 55: Vegas seems confident that Andrew Luck ($39) will play. How he will play is another matter. Last week, Donte Moncrief ($21) owners were really hurt by the Colts devising an Andre Johnson-revenge game script. But will Indy see this as a validation and now look to give Johnson ($14), who is in full decline, starter snaps at Moncrief’s expense? The Patriots have preferred to run the ball down Indy’s throat in the past but you have to think that Tom Brady ($46) is going to want revenge given

    Read More »from Week 6 Fantasy Football Power Rankings: Tom Brady ready for Colts

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