Fowler challenges NFL simulation engine

Fowler challenges NFL simulation engine

Published Oct. 12, 2011 1:00 a.m. ET

It started with that little animated paper clip in the corner of the letter you were about to write your grandma.

At first, his big black eyes and warm metallic smile seemed friendly enough.

“Hey it looks like you are trying to write a letter. Would you like some help?”

Then before you knew it …WHAM!


Y2K was upon us.

Eleven years later, the battle between man and machine continues. As you listen to your mp3 player, while surfing the internet via WiFi connection in front of your 50-inch high-definition LCD flat screen preparing for hours of football on Sunday, the machine has already played that slate of games days in advance.

Each week during the 2011 season, the NFL simulation engine “plays” each game 501 times. Following the simulation process, it generates fantasy football player projections for that week using the Fantasy Football default scoring system. It should be noted that the simulation projections are based on the past and present statistical DNA of each and every player.

To keep the simulation projections honest, I will be challenging the machine’s point totals in this weekly column.

“Hey it looks like your are trying to win your fantasy football game? Would you like some help?”

Thanks Clippy, but I’ll take it from here.

Week 5 Recap

(click link for Week 5 challenge)
(FP = fantasy points)

Eli Manning

Sim Projected: 240 pass yds. / 1.2 TDs / 15.1 FP
Actual: 420 pass yds. / 3 TDs / 3 INTs
Fowler Analysis: correct

Mike Tolbert

Sim Projected: 32 total yds / 5.3 FP
Actual: 49 total yds.
Fowler Analysis: incorrect

Plaxico Burress

Sim Projected: 46 rec. yds / 6.2 FP
Actual: 42 rec. yds.
Fowler Analysis: incorrect

Jared Cook

Sim Projected: 42 rec. yds / 5.4 FP
Actual: 59 rec. yds.
Fowler Analysis: incorrect

Week 6 Challenges

Ryan Fitzpatrick

WIS Projections: 234 pass yds. / 1.4 TDs / 16.9 FP
Analysis: Tarvaris Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst managed to throw for 279 yards with two touchdowns and one interception against the Giants. That’s good for at least 20 points in most standard scoring leagues. Fitzpatrick has a better receiving corps around him, plus the benefit of Fred Jackson to keep the secondary honest. The quarterback is currently sixth in passing touchdowns and tied for 19th with four interceptions.

I like the matchup and for Fitz to easily clear 20, on his way to 25, fantasy points.

Daniel Thomas

WIS Projections: 61 rush yds. / 10.6 FP
Analysis: As mentioned in this week’s “Start ‘em vs Sit ‘em” gallery, the New York Jets allowed BenJarvus Green-Ellis to run for over 130 yards against them last Sunday. If Thomas’ hamstring is loose Monday night, I expect the rookie running back to easily eclipse the century mark on the ground against the 26th ranked rush defense.

Thomas gets owners 13-14 points.

Dez Bryant

WIS Projections: 56 rec. yds. / 7.3 FP
Analysis: Coming off the bye, let’s hope the Dallas Cowboys’ offense have licked all their wounds. That includes Tony Romo’s ribs, Felix Jones’ shoulder, Miles Austin’s and Bryant’s hamstrings. The second ranked pass offense in the NFC is about to chow down on the Patriots awful pass defense. After five weeks, New England remains dead last allowing opposing quarterbacks to throw fro 327 yards per game.

Bryant clears 10 fantasy points this week.

Ed Dickson

WIS Projections: 52 rec. yds / 7.1 FP
Analysis: The Ravens’ tight end is averaging 45.0 receiving yards per game through the first four games with only one touchdown. The Houston Texans have lost Mario Williams for the season, but still possess the sixth-best pass defense in the league. I just don’t see him earning owners seven fantasy points.

It’ll be more like four to five.