This week I’m changing things up a bit. We’ve been using year-old Defense-adjusted Value Over Average for the first few weeks.
Last week, we looked at both 2014 and 2015 DVOA in an attempt to gain a bit of an edge. Now this week I’ve added in fantasy points allowed.
Yes, FPA can be problematic, but after three weeks we should start to see some trends and the outliers start to get filtered out. It will be even better next week, and better yet every week as we go.
This week I looked for the matchups that appeared in the same category twice or more. For instance, the New York Giants vs. the Buffalo Bills is a top passing matchup both according to 2015 DVOA and 2015 FPA. That makes them a strong play.
I also, however, noted when there was a discrepancy of any type. Again using the NYG-BUF matchup as an example, the Bills were the toughest team to pass against in 2014.
Alright, let’s get to the discussion.
Passing matchups to attack
New York Giants vs. Buffalo Bills — As I said in the intro, 2015 statistics point to a good spot for Eli Manning. Also as I said above, the Bills were one of the toughest teams to pass against in 2014. However, the 2015 Bills are one of five teams allowing an average of more than 100 yards to No. 1 wide receivers. For an offense that relies so heavily on the Manning-t0-Odell Beckham Jr. connection, we have to have more confidence in the 2015 numbers here.
Dallas Cowboys vs. New Orleans Saints — This matchup is great, but we have to remember this is Brandon Weeden and the Dez Bryant-less Cowboys passing offense against the Saints. New Orleans is second in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks and they were the sixth least efficient defense against the pass in 2014, backing up FPA. They’ve also allowed 78.7 yards per game (second most) to opposing tight ends — Jason Witten could have a huge week — and 66.6 yards per game to slot and bench receivers, third most in the NFL. Maybe it’s a Cole Beasley game, too. If we can point to two weapons with very above average matchups and an overall above average matchup, maybe we should consider pairing Weeden and one of those weapons in a tournament this week.
Chicago Bears vs. Oakland Raiders — Stop cringing. I know we don’t want to play any Bears, but we have to keep in mind that each week and each opponent is independent of the last. One of the Bears strongest remaining weapons is TE Martellus Bennett. We know the Raiders are getting crushed by TEs. Oakland is also the only pass defense that appears on all three charts — 2015 DVOA, 2014 DVOA and 2015 FPA. On top of all that, they’ve also allowed 53.7 receiving yards per game to opposing running backs. That number is sure to go up against Matt Forte, who is tied for second on the team with 16 targets, regardless of how bad Jimmy Clausen plays. The only good thing to say about Clausen’s performance against the Seahawks last week is that at least he didn’t spike himself. Still, like Weeden, he has the opportunity to come-out-of-nowhere and be a winning lottery ticket this week.
Houston Texans vs. Atlanta Falcons — This new matchup method has produced some real interesting matchups so far, eh? Again, it’s difficult to suggest you start someone like Ryan Mallet and his 69.9 QB rating. However, let’s dive a little deeper. The Falcons are third-worst in 2015 DVOA and were second-worst in 2014 DVOA. That consistency suggests it’s only a matter of time until they appear on the FPA list. Also, because they score so many points, opposing defenses are chucking it against them. If the game script goes as expected, Alfred Blue may not get a chance for 30 carries this week. We need to consider Brent Grimes (watch that balky knee) and Chris Polk as deep sleepers. The Falcons have allowed 87.1 yards passing to opposing running backs, most in the NFL. Grimes is fourth on the team in targets and Polk is fifth. Atlanta has also allowed 87 yards per game to opposing No. 1 receivers, that’s hardly at the top of the list, but it’s middle of the pack. They gave up a 7-146-1 line to Beckham in Week 2, so DeAndre Hopkins is also a very strong play. The Falcons are also one of the worst teams in the NFL against tight ends, allowing 63.4 yards per game to the position. So we could have another sleeper from the HOU TE ranks, so someone like Garrett Graham, Ryan Griffin or C.J. Fiedorowicz could have a surprise performance.
Oakland Raiders vs. Chicago Bears — The Bears are least effective against the pass this season, according to DVOA, after being fifth-least effective in 2014. This suggests their appearance on the FPA chart is only a matter of time. The way Derek Carr and Amari Cooper have been lighting it up the last couple weeks, they could be the ones to put them there. The Bears have been so bad teams aren’t racking up big yards against them. They’ve allowed the sixth-least passing yards this season but the second-most passing touchdowns. While they’ve allowed just 56.4 yards per game to No. 1 wide receivers, DVOA ranks them least-effective in the NFL against the position. They are also third-least efficient against WR2s and eighth-worst against tight ends. If the Bears can get any sort of offense going in this matchup (see above) this game could shatter and grant fantasy football dreams.
Passing matchups to avoid
Miami Dolphins vs. New York Jets — The Jets are fourth-best in passing yards allowed and tied for fifth in passing touchdowns allowed with 575 and 3 respectively. They’ve allowed slot and bench receivers to gain 78.6 yards per game, second-most in the NFL, but have been lock down good against No. 1 wide receivers, No. 2 wide receivers and tight ends.
Minnesota Vikings vs. Denver Broncos — Denver’s defense has been outstanding so far this season: 176 passing yards allowed per game, 11 sacks, six interceptions and only one passing touchdown allowed. I don’t want any part of the Vikings pass offense this week, save for a few dumpoffs to Adrian Peterson.
Detroit Lions vs. Seattle Seahawks — Quarterbacks have a 103.4 rating against the Seahawks this season and have thrown three touchdowns. However, those numbers are skewed a bit because Kam Chancellor, the Legion of Boom’s ringleader, held out a couple games. He returned last week and Seattle held the hapless Bears to just 63 yards passing and shut them out. Detroit is quite a bit better than Chicago, but don’t expect them to have good numbers this week.
Ok, that’s it for the passing matchups. Do you like the new format or do you prefer the old format? Let us know in the comments.
Thanks for reading.