NFC West: Josh Scobee

The dreaded instant messages began popping onto my screen this morning while preparing this update on the ESPN.com Blog Network Gridiron Challenge.

My wife never misses a chance to bust chops. Especially mine.

"I don't see anywhere on the blog how your wife whooped on you last week in the Gridiron Challenge," she wrote.

Unnecessary roughness? Taunting? Helmet-to-helmet contact?

Where's NFL policeman Ray Anderson when you really need him (on second thought, any fines against my wife would come out of my pocket, too).

"Actually working on that item now," I replied meekly.

No mercy.

"And how many points do you have?" she shot back.

OK, here's the deal. My Gridiron Challenge team can't get a break to save my marriage (or at least save face within my marriage). Miles Austin? One point for my team in Week 6. Dallas Clark? Wrist injury. Philip Rivers? Thirteen measly points. Colt McCoy had more!

It's gone this way all season. The guy who lucked into the 94.4th percentile in the 2009, well ahead of a certain instant-messaging harasser, suddenly can't figure out anything.

"What matters is today," my wife said, brushing off her 2009 finish in the 67th percentile. "Where are you today?"

Answer: in the 47th percentile.

Ben Roethlisberger, Hines Ward, Frank Gore and the San Francisco 49ers' defense did come through as expected from a fantasy standpoint in Week 6. My expectations for Josh Scobee and Michael Crabtree fell through (Scobee's Jaguars suffered two turnovers in the red zone, while the Oakland Raiders did not use Nnamdi Asomugha to lock down Crabtree).

The chart shows the top 10 overall competitors in the Blog Network group, plus a few stragglers. The AFC North's James Walker isn't really straggling, though. He ranks 71st overall and resides close to the 99th percentile. Way to go, James.

Three leaders remained in the top 10 overall among more than 3,500 entries despite failing to reach 100 points in Week 6. It was a tough week for quite a few teams, but my wife's squad somehow managed 140 points, outscoring all but one member of the top 10 and moving her team into the 87th percentile (up from 69.6).

Not that I've heard about it much.

Gridiron Challenge: Week 6 fantasy ideas

October, 14, 2010
10/14/10
12:11
PM ET
Congrats to Cullen_Powers_Dominates for putting together the highest-scoring Week 5 team from among more than 3,500 entrants in the ESPN.com Blog Network Gridiron Challenge.

Starting Matt Forte (30 points), Ray Rice (27), Malcolm Floyd (27) and the Chicago Bears' defense (23) helped produced a 176-point total.

Meanwhile, my team continued heading south for the winter (point totals for the last four weeks: 146, 118, 101 and 100). The new week brings renewed hope.

Please do point out the errors of my ways in thinking these fantasy thoughts for Week 6:
  • Jacksonville Jaguars kicker Josh Scobee looks like a solid play, and not just because he's coming off an 18-point performance. He's also facing the Tennessee Titans, owners of the top red zone defense in terms of lowest touchdown percentage allowed. Tennessee's opponents this season have attempted 17 field goals in five games, including seven in the last two games.
  • The San Francisco 49ers' defense could come out OK at home against the Oakland Raiders. The 49ers' defense ranks 31st in fantasy points. I'm proceeding under the assumption turnovers will even out at some point, and the 49ers have too much talent on defense to struggle all season.
  • The Pittsburgh Steelers' Hines Ward carries a relatively low price tag. Might his production spike some with Ben Roethlisberger returning?
  • The Cleveland Browns have allowed five touchdown passes in two road games. They're on the road against Pittsburgh this week. Might this be a good time to pick up Roethlisberger, who is carrying a relatively low price tag in his first week of eligibility? I've had Aaron Rodgers to this point, but he's coming off a concussion and his offense is suffering from injuries.
  • As much as it appears Michael Crabtree's production is ascending, the Raiders' Nnamdi Asomugha could erase him from the stat sheet in Week 6, no?
  • Frank Gore fumbled twice last week. Now he faces the Raiders' 31st-ranked run defense. Seems like a good play.

The chart shows the top 10 overall competitors in the Blog Network group, plus a few stragglers (yes, my wife's team continues to lead my team, and I hear about it once or twice every day, usually when she asks from the other room if I know my point total).

Ice try: Sizing up kickers in the clutch

September, 24, 2009
9/24/09
11:54
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando


OT Kicks Since 2001
FGM FGA Pct. Average Distance
Iced 18 31 58.1 41.9
Not Iced
32 44 72.7 43.8
Totals 50 75 66.7 43.0
Grant Ruby asks via Facebook: Sando, you're a stat geek (I say that with reverence). Wondering if you have any stats on 'icing' the kicker. Statistically speaking, does a kicker do any better/worse after a timeout by the opposing team?

Mike Sando: If you think I can be a stat geek, you ought to meet the people from ESPN Stats & Information. I posed your question to them and they produced a list since 2001 showing all kicks of at least 35 yards in the final 2 minutes or overtime when the score was tied or the kicking team trailed by no more than 3 points. These seemed like reasonable parameters.

Icing the kicker seemed most effective during overtime. Kickers made 18 of 31 tries -- 58.1 percent -- from an average of 41.87 yards when opponents iced them in overtime. Kickers made 32 of 44 tries -- 72.7 percent -- from an average of 43.84 yards when opponents did not attempt to ice them in overtime.

The percentages were nearly identical for iced and non-iced kicks during the final 2 minutes of regulation.
NFC West Kickers in OT
Iced Not Iced
All
Joe Nedney
1-1 3-3 4-4
Josh Brown
0-0 1-1 1-1
Olindo Mare
0-1 1-1 1-2
Neil Rackers
0-0 0-0 0-0
Totals 50 75 66.7

The 49ers' Joe Nedney has made more overtime field goals without a miss -- four -- than any other kicker since 2001.

No kicker during that time has attempted more than three field goals in overtime after an opponent called timeout. Eleven kickers made their only attempt during those situations. Among those without a miss, only Shaun Suisham attempted more than one. He made both tries. Robbie Gould and Jay Feely were the only kickers with more than two attempts in those situations. Gould made 2 of 3. Feely made 1 of 3.

The first chart shows results for all overtime kicks since 2001, by iced or not iced.

The second chart breaks out NFC West kickers during those sudden-death situations.

The third chart ranks kickers since 2001 who have made at least three kicks without a miss from 35-plus yards to tie or take the lead in overtime or the final 2 minutes of regulation.
Most Prolific Clutch Kickers Since 2001
Iced Not Iced
All
Matt Bryant
2-2 5-5 7-7
Jeff Reed
5-5 1-1 6-6
Paul Edinger
3-3 2-2 5-5
John Carney
3-3 2-2 5-5
Totals 13-13 10-10 23-23

The Steelers' Jeff Reed must have Prestone in his veins. He's made all five clutch kicks from 35-plus yards when opponents tried to ice him. Reed, Matt Bryant, Paul Edinger and John Carney have made all 13 tries since 2001 when opponents tried to ice them. They combined to make 23 of 23 kicks whether or not they were iced.

Adam Vinatieri has made 11 of 12 kicks whether or not he was iced in these situations. Feely has made 8 of 15, giving him three more misses than anyone since 2001. Martin Gramatica (5-9), Phil Dawson (4-8) and Wilkins (3-7) were the only others with more than three misses.

Former Rams kicker Jeff Wilkins had the most misses when iced, making only 1 of 5 in those situations (he made both tries when he was not iced). Feely was the only other kicker with more than two misses in those situations. He made 3 of 6.
Kickers Better When Iced Since 2001
Iced Not Iced
Difference
Rob Bironas
3-4 0-1 +75%
Doug Brien
2-3 0-2 +67%
Neil Rackers
1-1 2-5 +60%
Bill Gramatica
3-3 2-3 +33%
Josh Scobee
3-3 2-3 +33%
Joe Nedney
2-2 4-6 +33%
David Akers
3-4 2-4 +25%
Jason Elam
3-3 7-9 +22%
Totals 20-23 19-33 +29 %

The fourth chart shows kickers with at least four total clutch attempts who have proven more effective after opponents tried to ice them.

Like the third chart, this one shows all kicks of at least 35 yards in the final 2 minutes or overtime when the score was tied or the kicking team trailed by no more than 3 points. These eight kickers made 20 of 23 attempts when iced, but only 19 of 33 attempts when given no extra time to think about it.

A few kickers were more accurate when not iced. Matt Stover was perfect on nine tries when opponents did not ice him. He made 3 of 5 attempts when iced. Overall, the six kickers on this list -- all with at least two iced misses -- made 42.3 percent of these pressure kicks when iced and 78.3 percent when not iced.
Kickers Worse When Iced Since 2001 (minimum 2 iced misses)
Iced Not Iced
Difference
Jeff Wilkins
1-5 2-2 -80%
Phil Dawson
0-2 4-6 -67%
John Kasay
1-3 6-7 -52%
Matt Stover
3-5 9-9 -40%
Mike Vanderjagt
3-5 3-4 -15%
Jay Feely
3-6 5-9 -5%
Totals 11-26 29-37 -36%
For download: Mark Francescutti and Ben Lerner of ESPN Stats & Information provided an Excel file breaking down all kickers across these situations. I created a master sheet putting all the information in one place.

Download the final creation here.

And if there's anything else you've always wanted to know, ask away in the comments and I'll see what we can find out.

Thanks to Grant for asking this one.

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