Posts by: ep

2015 fantasy football DVOA strength of schedule rankings

Strength of schedule is not my favorite fantasy football statistic.

There’s not much value in using last year’s statistics to determine how teams will perform this season. It’s even worse, in my opinion, when players are drafted based on strong SoS opponents during playoff weeks, usually weeks 13-16. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m starting players who face the Jaguars. And I know teams with a bad run defense usually stay bad.

However, injuries and matchups alter outcomes and can make defenses look worse than they actually are.

But can we make a better strength of schedule using Football Outsiders’ advanced metric, Defense-adjusted Value Over Average? I hope so.

DVOA is a results-based metric that looks at a defense’s effectiveness per play as opposed to final statistics. That should make it a better indicator of future success.

I spent quite a few words talking about it on our new strength of schedule page: DVOA strength of schedule chart and analysisPrintable DVOA strength of schedule chart

Do you use strength of schedule? How much do you rely on it on draft day? Let us know in the comments.

Saints need to score, but how will offense operate without TE Jimmy Graham?

New Orleans Saints

2014 Record: 7-9, missed playoffs, 3-2 in last five

Saints impact rookies | Saints impact sleepers | More team previews

Four downs

1st: 7th in DVOA* overall offense (9th pass, 9th rush) | 31st in DVOA* overall defense (27th pass, 32nd run)

2nd: Third-least effective defense in the NFL against WR1s (7.5 pass attempts per game, 79.9 receiving yards per game), worst in the NFL against receiving RBs (6.7 pass attempts, 53.6 yards), but best in the NFL against TEs (8 pass attempts, 38.6 yards), according to Football Outsiders’ defense vs. receiver types chart.

3rd: Key loss: TE Jimmy Graham | Key addition: RB C.J. Spiller

4th: Drew Brees burned a few daily fantasy owners last season, but the offense wasn’t the big problem for the Saints. Their defense was second-worst in the NFL and they were worst in the NFL against the run. It takes a lot to turn a defense around, but the Saints have revamped their roster in hopes of giving their fans hope in 2015. While the drama and conflict will be on that side of the ball, fantasy football players should be excited for the Drew Brees-led offensive unit. C.J. Spiller will be an interesting one-two punch with Mark Ingram, who had a career year in 2015. Second-year WR Brandin Cooks was on his way to a breakout rookie season before a broken thumb cost him the final six games of the season. He’s a smaller receiver, but his debut was eye-opening and he makes a good complement to Marques Colston who saw statistic declines across the board in his age 31 season, but he’s still 6-foor-4, 225 and Jimmy Graham won’t be there to steal all of the red zone opportunities. The other side of that coin: How does the Saints offense function without Jimmy Graham in 2015?

*Defense-adjusted Value Over Average, a Football Outsiders’ advanced NFL metric, measures a team’s performance on a per-play basis. The metric attempts to limit variance and provides a more realistic measurement of how good a team is regardless of matchup or situation, making it a strong indicator of future success. Read more about DVOA.

Despite additions, Falcons defense has long way to go

Atlanta Falcons

2014 Record: 6-10, missed playoffs, 2-3 in last five

Falcons impact rookies | Falcons impact sleepers | More team previews

Four downs

1st: 10th in DVOA* overall offense (8th pass, 22nd rush) | 32nd in DVOA* overall defense (31st pass, 30th run)

2nd: Eighth-most effective in the NFL against WR1s (9.1 pass attempts per game, 78 receiving yards per game), but fifth-worst against WR2s (6.1 pass attempts, 68.5 yards), sixth-worst against slot/bench receivers (6.2 pass attempts, 51.1 yards), third-worst against pass-catching running backs (7.1 pass attempts, 49 yards), according to Football Outsiders’ defense vs. receiver types chart.

3rd: Key loss: Steven Jackson | Key addition: RB Tevin Coleman

4th: The Falcons record was worse than I remember, but when you have the least effective defense in the NFL, that sort of thing happens. The addition of Brooks Reed and Justin Durant will only be a marginal help. The Falcons also added a handful of rookies — including pass-rusher Vic Beasley — who should help considerably. But rebuilding a defense from the bottom doesn’t happen overnight, even if you bring in a Super Bowl Champion defensive coordinator to be your new head coach. RB Tevin Coleman was brought in as RB Steven Jackson departs. Coleman will compete with Devonta Freeman for starting RB duties. The lone bright spot was the Falcons passing offense. Matt Ryan amassed 4,694 yards and 28 TDs even though superstar WR Julio Jones missed a game and only scored six TDs. Not that Jones was terrible. He still finished as the seventh-best WR in PPR. Age seems to be catching up to Roddy White, but he still made 80 receptions for 921 yards and 7 TDs and finished as the No. 21 WR in PPR.

*Defense-adjusted Value Over Average, a Football Outsiders’ advanced NFL metric, measures a team’s performance on a per-play basis. The metric attempts to limit variance and provides a more realistic measurement of how good a team is regardless of matchup or situation, making it a strong indicator of future success. Read more about DVOA.

Daily fantasy baseball advice for Monday, July 26: Fantasy points for and against starting pitchers

Start pitchers against teams that have hit poorly against starting pitchers. Start batters against teams that have had poor performance out of starting pitchers.

This isn’t a daily fantasy baseball rule of thumb, but maybe it should be. It at least makes sense to me. But Google “fantasy points scored against starting pitchers” and you are not going to find the droids you’re looking for.

Continue reading ‘Daily fantasy baseball advice for Monday, July 26: Fantasy points for and against starting pitchers’

Panthers made getting help for franchise QB Newton a priority

Carolina Panthers

2014 Record: 7-8-1, NFC South Champions, 4-1 in last five

Panthers impact rookies | Panthers impact sleepers | More team previews

Four downs

1st: 20th in DVOA* overall offense (23rd pass, 16th rush) | 15th in DVOA* overall defense (9th pass, 23rd run)

2nd: Fifth-worst in the NFL against WR1s (7.9 pass attempts per game, 65.3 receiving yards per game), but second-best in the NFL against pass-catching running backs (6.6 pass attempts, 31.6 yards), according to Football Outsiders’ defense vs. receiver types chart.

3rd: Key loss: RB DeAngelo Williams | Key addition: WR Devin Funchess

4th: Adding rookies WR Devin Funchess, RB Cameron Artis-Payne and a couple offensive lineman, the Panthers are trying to improve one of the worst offenses in the NFL. Adding those pieces to Kelvin Benjamin, Greg Olsen and Jonathan Stewart should give a well-paid Cam Newton enough weapons to improve the Panthers 23rd-ranked passing offense. It might be the best supporting cast he’s played with. Healded first-round pick LB Shaq Thompson should help improve the Panthers 23rd-ranked rush defense. The loss of Greg Hardy will hurt the defense. He is facing a tiny suspension for a huge incident — assaulting a woman — but from a team defense and fantasy perspective, Hardy was a playmaker on a defense that could use a few.

*Defense-adjusted Value Over Average, a Football Outsiders’ advanced NFL metric, measures a team’s performance on a per-play basis. The metric attempts to limit variance and provides a more realistic measurement of how good a team is regardless of matchup or situation, making it a strong indicator of future success. Read more about DVOA.

Packers, Rodgers don’t need a run defense to dominate NFL

Green Bay Packers

2014 Record: 12-4, NFC North Champions, 4-2 in last five

Packers impact rookies | Packers impact sleepers | More team previews

Four downs

1st: 1st in DVOA* overall offense (2nd pass, 6th rush) | 16th in DVOA* overall defense (11th pass, 24th run)

2nd: Middle-of-the-road against most receiver types, but seventh-best against WR2s (6.5 pass attempts per game, 41.7 receiving yards per game) and ninth-best against slot/bench receivers (6 pass attempts, 37.2 yards), according to Football Outsiders’ defense vs. receiver types chart.

3rd: Key loss: WR A.J. Hawk | Key addition: N/A

4th: Green Bay lost to the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Championship Game so it’s not like they needed to make many big moves. However, the loss of A.J. Hawk and no additions to a defense that already ranked 24th in the NFL in effectiveness against the run is puzzling. Marshawn Lynch rushed for a season-high 157 yards in the NFC title game. But I guess when you have  the best offense in the NFL you can have some warts on defense and dominate. What more is there to say about that ridiculous offense? Aaron Rodgers, Eddie Lacy, Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb are all elite, top-8 or better at their respective positions. One player to watch: Davante Adams. He disappointed owners in 2015 and the return of free agent Cobb means a lot of fantasy owners are going to refuse to make eye contact with him. But I find it hard to believe a player targeted 11 times by Rodgers for seven catches 117 yards and a  touchdown in a playoff game will be ignored.

*Defense-adjusted Value Over Average, a Football Outsiders’ advanced NFL metric, measures a team’s performance on a per-play basis. The metric attempts to limit variance and provides a more realistic measurement of how good a team is regardless of matchup or situation, making it a strong indicator of future success. Read more about DVOA.

Bears in the worst-team-in-the-NFL conversation, but don’t ignore Cutler on draft day

Chicago Bears

2014 Record: 5-11, missed playoffs, 0-5 in last five

Bears impact rookies | Bears impact sleepers | More team previews

Four downs

1st: 14th in DVOA* overall offense (16th pass, 11th rush) | 28th in DVOA* overall defense (29th pass, 21st run)

2nd: Not particularly effective against any receiver type, but worst in the NFL against TEs (7.4 pass attempts per game, 60.4 receiving yards per game) and seventh-worst against WR1s (7.7 pass attempts, 71.8 yards) and WR2s (6.4 pass attempts, 60.8 yards), according to Football Outsiders’ defense vs. receiver types chart.

3rd: Key loss: WR Brandon Marshall | Key addition: LB Mason Foster

4th: The big story for a lot of people is Jay Cutler’s non-departure. Yes, he is a head case. He is a quarterback who is better in fantasy than in real life. Luckily, this is a fantasy football site. Cutler finished 12th among fantasy quarterbacks in 2014, depending on your scoring system, despite missing a game. That put him ahead of Tony Romo, Joe Flacco, Matthew Stafford and Cam Newton. Meanwhile, He’s going off the board as the last pick in the 14th round of drafts in 2015, according to ADP. The loss of Brandon Marshall will hurt the offense, but Marshall was as bad as you remember he was last season, despite Cutler putting up his most yards since 2008 and a career-high 29 touchdowns passes. Now Cutler will be throwing to WRs Alshon Jeffrey and potential star rookie Kevin White. TE Martellus Bennett had career highs in catches, targets, yards and touchdowns. Expect more of the same from him in 2015. Matt Forte is approaching an age when he should slow down, but he should huge workload again. On the defensive side, the addition of Mason Foster should help the Bears horrible (fourth-worst overall and third-worst against the pass). Foster missed six games due to injury in 2014, but he’s only 26 and the previous two seasons he piled up 196 tackles, four sacks, four interceptions — including two returned for touchdowns — and deflected eight passes. But they’ll need more than just Foster. Two other big team losses were Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman, but both are approaching their age-35 seasons.

*Defense-adjusted Value Over Average, a Football Outsiders’ advanced NFL metric, measures a team’s performance on a per-play basis. The metric attempts to limit variance and provides a more realistic measurement of how good a team is regardless of matchup or situation, making it a strong indicator of future success. Read more about DVOA.