Chat with KC Joyner
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPN Insider KC Joyner, will be here to answer your NFL questions.
Joyner, aka The Football Scientist, uses game film to track, tabulate and analyze nearly every measurable statistic in an NFL game. He is a regular Insider contributor and has his own website at thefootballscientist.com.
Send your questions now and join KC Thursday at 4 p.m. ET!
KC Joyner (4:01 PM)
Good afternoon! Let's talk some football!
Bent Wright (Columbia, MO)
Is there reason for hope if you're a Raiders fan? Or are we doomed until Al goes to the Owner's Box in the Sky?
KC Joyner (4:03 PM)
The Owner's Box in the Sky? That's an afterlife I've never heard of but am quite interested in! As far as Oakland's chances, they are closer to being competitive in their division than you might think. SD is the only team there with ample talent. It will all boil down to how Russell and the passing game progress but if the ball bounces right, it could be an 8-8 season in Oakland.
SprungOnSports (Long Island)
Based on what you wrote on your blog about Cutler, do you think the Bears aren't going to live up to their expectations? Do you think they might even be better off relying on Matt Forte more and having a QB with not as much hype as Cutler?
KC Joyner (4:05 PM)
Wouldn't you know it, I only get one question in and a Cutler comment gets posted. I'll say this about the Bears - they get a lot of turnovers and have the next Brian Westbrook in their backfield. They went to the Super Bowl with less talent than what they have now. Cutler will hurt them at times but many teams have won with QBs that have high bad decision rates, so they have at least a 50/50 shot at the division.
FF question: Chris Johnson or Michael Turner....i know johnson splits...but he is ridiculously explosive and Turner is doomed by the curse of 370 right?
KC Joyner (4:05 PM)
I know of the curse of 370 but I really, really like what I've seen so far out of the Atlanta O line. Give me Turner in that one.
Cosmo (Anytown, USA)
I'm trying to figure out which is worse - referring to yourself as a Football Scientist or The Talented Mr. Roto? I'm leaning toward 'Roto', unless you call your office "The Lab".
KC Joyner (4:06 PM)
Is Cosmo your real name? If not, isn't that rather like the old pot and kettle story?
What do you think of Roddy White this year? huge breakout year? or does gonzo take away from that?
KC Joyner (4:08 PM)
It would be hard to call this year a breakout year for White because I thought last year was his breakout year. Gonzo will certainly help but I think White will have a good year regardless of who else he has around him - he's that good.
Zach (New York, NY)
With what you've said about the Houston O-Line and run blocking, what does it say for Steve Slaton's incredible productivity last year?
KC Joyner (4:10 PM)
I'm very high on Slaton but let me clarify something about the Texans O line - their tackles struggled but their guards and center all had solid POA win rates. Mike Brisiel is only a step away from being a Pro Bowl run blocker.
Cosmo (Anytown, USA)
Touche. So, you do call it 'The Lab' - sounds like a touched a nerve. By the way, using my real name might lead to me being fired.
KC Joyner (4:12 PM)
Nah, I'm cool with people having fun with the TFS name - that's what it is there for! I do take the science of football seriously but that doesn't mean it has to be approached with a bit of levity at times.
Now thay Mason has retired, does that bump up Todd Heap in the TE rankings or is he no longer a viable fantasy option
KC Joyner (4:13 PM)
I'd say yes except that Heap's numbers were awful last year and his matchups are among the most difficult in the league. Speaking of which, I am but a step away from being able to send out the fantasy matchup lists to fantasy draft guide customers, so keep an eye in your email box if you are one of them!
The Raiders let up only 9 sacks over their last 7 games, and this coincided with A) Mario Henderson replacing Kwame Harris, and B) Russell gaining experience and confidence. I thought Henderson did very well considering the caliber of opponents he was facing, including Richard Seymour and Mario Williams. What are your impressions of Henderson?
KC Joyner (4:16 PM)
I agree on Henderson based on what I've seen thus far. The funny thing is he doesn't have to be great to be an improvement - he can be average and that would be a huge upgrade over Harris (who might be the worst LT I've seen in six years of tape breakdowns).
Alex Gibbs (Houston, TX)
How does POA analysis change when you're looking at a ZONE BLOCKING team?
KC Joyner (4:17 PM)
Man or zone, you still have to win the block. Zone blocking often allows for more double teams, so that is a difference, but it still comes down to blocking the man in front of you.
KC - thanks for taking my question. Do you think the Cassel deal was warranted or risky? Also given its size Rivers is likely to break the bank. Have you heard anything on contract negotiations with the Chargers soon to be Free Agents?
KC Joyner (4:19 PM)
Count me in the Cassel deal being risky column. He had one of the lowest vertical YPAs in the league last year despite having Randy Moss to throw to. I like Dwayne Bowe but he isn't Moss and that could mean a reduction in Cassel's deep numbers. I also wonder why they didn't give Tyler Thigpen more of a shot at winning the job, as in some ways he was just as impressive as Cassel despite playing in much worse conditions.
Do you know anything about the metrics between walt harris and bly. I am just wondering if they are pretty close to the same
KC Joyner (4:20 PM)
According to the numbers in the metrics section in the back of ESPN's Fantasy Football Mag (on newsstands now), Bly had an 8.0 YPA and Harris a 7.0.
How do you think the vikings will do this year?
KC Joyner (4:21 PM)
They are the most talented team in the NFC North, so I see them as the favorites.
The Talented Mr. Roto (With Cosmo)
My friend and I are looking for a sleeper this year - any suggestions?
KC Joyner (4:23 PM)
I usually save sleepers for columns but I've got one that I have been touting on the chats for a few weeks now - Beanie Wells. The Cards O line had much better metrics than their overall run numbers would suggest and Whisenhunt does want to run the ball a lot. His RBs last year didn't do very well even when they were given good blocking but I'm betting Wells will solve that problem.
What are your thoughts on the Jags? Do you think they could surprise some people and contend for a playoff spot? Or is that just too much optimism?
KC Joyner (4:25 PM)
Perfect timing, as you are catching me on the day that I am writing a Jags piece for the NY Times Fifth Down blog. In a nutshell, we are going to find out just how good of a coach Del Rio is. His team nearly gave up on him last year and only the best coaches can turn those situations around. Everyone says the problem was with their O line but the POA block numbers I ran show that not to be the case. I hate to say it but I've got them as the #4 team in that division.
Hey KC do you think Matthew Stafford is worth The 78 million hey could get and how many wins do you give dtriot this year?
KC Joyner (4:26 PM)
I think the $78 million number is a contract fallacy but even if it was half of that, I'd say a rookie is simply not worth it. Detroit will win 4-6 games this year, as Schwartz and Cunningham will eliminate some of the big weaknesses from last season.
Ken (Scottsdale, AZ)
The Cards running metrics can only go up right?
KC Joyner (4:27 PM)
Lyle Sendlein, their center, was the only linemen with a poor POA rate and he was hurt much of the year. Get him healthy and things can only get better.
Brandon (Bellevue, WA)
So the Vikings are the favorites but the Bears have a 50/50 shot at winning the division... for a Scientist your math is pretty fallacious.
KC Joyner (4:28 PM)
I knew someone was going to point that out. I just hated the thought of having two favorites (as the 50/50 split would indicate), so let's just say that I moved the Vikes to a 51-49 lead there.
SprungOnSports (Long Island)
Do you think the Bears are going to rely on Cutler too much, taking away from the value Forte has on the field?
KC Joyner (4:30 PM)
I certainly hope not but Cutler strikes me as the kind of guy who would not take kindly to a balanced offense. Forte should be their centerpiece and if he isn't because of Cutler, it will be a shame.
Randy (minneapolis, mn)
Hi, KC with your fantasy football experiece, what do you think of the philosophy(outlined recently by the Ken Danube article from espn) on taking two wide recievers the first two rounds of the draft?
KC Joyner (4:32 PM)
My advice in early fantasy draft picks is generally to go for RBs but always keep an open eye for the truly elite players. In other words, I'm for picking two elite WRs if the RB pickings aren't strong.
Is it just me, or is anyone else expecting big things out of the Texans this season? With a ton of talented players on defense and an offense featuring Schaub, Johnson and Slaton I think they could make a run at the divison? Am i delusional?
KC Joyner (4:34 PM)
For all I know you may be delusional, but you aren't that way because of your thoughts on the Texans. Their vertical totals were great last year, they have a terrific RB and their defense has filled a couple of holes. I've got them as a playoff team even if they don't win the division.
Noah (Champaign, IL)
would you rather: Aaron Rodgers or Jay Cutler???
KC Joyner (4:34 PM)
Rodgers. He's got a better combination of vertical numbers and bad decision rates.
Are you for or against PPR leagues?
KC Joyner (4:35 PM)
I actually prefer PPR leagues because I think they provide some production balance for the WR position.
KC, Who do you prefer between Forte, Turner, and S. Jax?
KC Joyner (4:35 PM)
Forte all the way.
Any hope for a lions fan this year?
KC Joyner (4:36 PM)
Think of the Lions as being rather like Ford Motor Company. Yes, they are losing a ton of money but they aren't losing as much as they were last year. The Silver and Blue will be much the same - they will still lose a lot more than they win, but they won't lose as many as last year.
Is New England's secondary talented enough to get them to the playoffs?
KC Joyner (4:37 PM)
Absolutely. Shawn Springs is the best veteran CB the Pats have signed in the Belichick era.
chase parenteau (lakeville, massachusetts)
how do think tom brady will do this season?
KC Joyner (4:38 PM)
I've got him as throwing 25-30 TDs. I know he's Tom Brady and all but he's still coming off of a big injury and that kind of rust is hard to get rid of early on in a season.
Can the Denver offense score more points than last year's team? After all, the Cutler led offense was only 16th in points scored and 21st the year before that.
KC Joyner (4:39 PM)
Absolutely. Moreno is a really good addition and Orton showed he can pilot an offense. It would actually surprise me if they didn't score more points.
KC Joyner (4:40 PM)
I initially had it as Philadelphia-SD but after breaking down the Steelers tapes, I'm convinced they could have an even better season this year. Give me a Pennsylvania Super Bowl of Philadelphia-Pittsburgh.
I love your work KC but i'm sorry i just cant buy into the fact that the Redskins struggled last yr cause they didnt buy into Zorns system. It has to be either the system is no good or the players excuting the system are no good.
KC Joyner (4:42 PM)
Look, it might boil down to that Zorn bit off too much in year one with both the HC and OC jobs and that the team started doubting him because of that. If that is the case and Zorn has a better handle on things this year, then all will be well on that front, but I just can't get out of my head the way that team seemed to believe Zorn when he said he felt like the worst coach in the country.
Do you agree with the results of AFC North player poll that James Walker did where the vast majority of players surveyed said that Ben Roethlisberger is the best QB in the division?
KC Joyner (4:43 PM)
Absolutely. I didn't give Ben his just due when someone asked me for my top QBs a couple of months ago in a chat. Let me rectify that by saying in my estimation he is the #3 QB in the league, behind only Brady and Peyton (and that assumes Brady returns to being his old self, or at least close to it).
Shane (Los Angeles, CA)
KCJ: With regards to the Texans, do you think the addition of A. Smith is going to improve the Texans pass rush so well that it will disguise the shortcomings of the secondary?
KC Joyner (4:44 PM)
If memory serves me correct, Smith had only 3.5 sacks last year, so he won't be a huge upgrade there. He did have a very good POA win rate (I believe it was 24%), so he'll help more on that front.
How do you think the Packers season is going to look this year? And if Brett does go to the Vikings.. how do you think that match up is going to be (Pack vs. Vik)?
KC Joyner (4:46 PM)
It could be a tough year in GB because of their defensive change. They don't have zone defensive personnel and yet they are going to a 34 scheme. As far as Brett vs. the Packers, please don't make me think about that. I have been enjoying the relative lack of Favre coverage and if (when) that game happens, no NFL writer will be able to go 10 words without having to mention the glory hound.
How do you see Larry Coyer's impact on the Colts defense? His track record against the run when the AFCW had great RB's was pretty solid and he NEVER had a pass rush like Mathis and Freeney...
KC Joyner (4:49 PM)
I couldn't agree more on Coyer. He was the scapegoat for a bad situation in Denver (see Scientific Football 2007 for more detail on this) but he is a really good DC. Give him Mathis and Freeney and he'll have a top 10 D.
Ryan (San Diego)
I do not agree with replacing SD with Pitt. If SD has a healthy Merriman, and LT I think that may be a different game. Not to mention the flukey things that happened...I mean a punt off a guys head...cmon
KC Joyner (4:50 PM)
Why am I not surprised to hear you disagree with this?! My mind change had more to do with Pittsburgh's situation than it did SD's (see the NY Times blog I did on this a couple of weeks back).
John Madden (On a bus)
F-A-V-R-E, F-A-V-R-E, F-A-V-R-E, AND FARVO WAS HIS NAME-O
KC Joyner (4:51 PM)
You know, typing that in must have taken a lot of effort, so I'll post it on those grounds alone (never mind that it is funny)!
Hey KC - Phins question. I know we have a tougher schedule, rivaling Pitt's from last year, but I don't buy into the chatter that Miami would be lucky to go 9-7. VERY well coached, players have bought into the system, an improved O-line, more O weapons, and a retooled D with Jason Taylor, C Wake, G Wilson and 2 stud rookie CB's. What's your prediction for Miami this year?
KC Joyner (4:54 PM)
I'd agree with you on many fronts but I'd have to take possible exception on the secondary. Miami has two safeties who have iffy coverage skills and I just don't entirely trust rookie CBs. They have a brutal schedule from a pass defense perspective, as they will be facing a ton of high-powered passing attacks, so if the CBs or safeties can't hold up, they will have to try to win shootout games.
noah (mineral wells TX)
I'm right now watching Brett Favre's conference with Jerry Jones! He just signed with the cowboys! A $11.2m/1 yr!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
KC Joyner (4:54 PM)
Tell me this guy is kidding.
The Cassell signing makes no sense to me from the KC perspective (except that they traded for him). They have him on a one year rental and still own his franchises rights next year. Just seems that if he does not perform well, they're stuck, right?
KC Joyner (4:56 PM)
That's how I understand it. I'm all for giving the guy a one-year deal and then letting him compete for the spot but with the deal they gave him, I don't think they'll have much of a choice no matter how he plays. Can't sit that kind of money on the bench.
Is Joseph Addai finished?
KC Joyner (4:57 PM)
My scouting eye says Indy might be giving up on him but if he doesn't stick with them, he's got more than enough left that some other team will give him a starting spot.
I am in a 12 man keeper league and I can keep Lance Moore in the 12th round. Do you think he will continue to be productive this year coming off the offseason surgery?
KC Joyner (4:58 PM)
Without knowing more about the other options in your league, it's hard to say, but in general I wouldn't go very far to keep Moore. The NO system is like the old NE system in that you don't know which WR is going to get the receptions week to week and there are too many other potential options out there who could give more consistent performance.
Fair enough KC. Brutal schedule didn't derail Pitt last year. Now, I know we're not Pitt. I'm a realist. I hear you on the secondary. Gibril is much better suited to FS (see Giants SB run), and as you know, a good pass rush makes up for a suspect pass D. Plus, Will Allen is highly underrated. So Miami prediction?
KC Joyner (4:59 PM)
Give me 8-8.
Good Day KC, Is Randy Moss top 3 for FF? 18 TD's too much to ask? What's up with the FF league this year?Thank you
KC Joyner (5:00 PM)
Good day, KMAC! 18 TDs are too much to ask for Moss. Brady throws 25-30, Moss gets 10-15 (probably closer to 10). As far as FF chat leagues this year, I'll be sending out the invites in early August.
Is anyone here a Chargers Fan?
KC Joyner (5:02 PM)
Jacob, you obviously haven't been on these chats before. This chat has maybe the widest collection of SD fans of any chat on SportsNation. They all come here to tell me about Philip Rivers (I threw him under the bus a few years ago and they never let me forget it!).
I have a fantasy football offer where I would receive Cooley and a draft pick for Antonio Gates. Gates' age and injury history worry me. In your scientific eyes, is Gates vastly superior to Cooley, or just a little better?
KC Joyner (5:04 PM)
A healthy Gates is superior. That's not a knock on Cooley but Gates has better chops as a flex wideout. Well, as is the tradition, Mrs. Scientist has dinner just about ready so I've got run. Hope to see you all here next week!