Challenge Contests — by Justin Eleff
Sizing up the matchups
Posted Oct. 22 at 12:40 PM
Several weeks ago I wrote that I do not consider a new season’s statistics to be particularly meaningful until Week 6 or so. Welcome to Week 7; time to give this a look.
This week’s column is light on words but not at all light on the work that went into it. Below are lists of the best and worst matchups I believe players at each position can face -- at least, that would be true if all of the stats produced in 2010 were equally meaningful. In looking over the lists, you’ll have to remember things like Darrelle Revis having suffered a nagging hamstring injury, which may have corrupted the Jets’ defensive rankings to some extent. Etc.
For each position, I’ve identified exactly which stats I considered, and exactly how much weight I gave each of them. If a given position’s lists are based on “4 parts X; 3 parts Y; 2 parts Z,” that means that I consider X to be twice as important for these purposes as Z, but I consider Y to be only one and a half times as important as Z. I know this is all highly subjective, and I know no two of us would have done this in quite the same way. Nothing I can do about that.
Note that all of the lists are based not on any enduring standard of what makes for a good or bad performance, but rather on what has actually happened so far in 2010. For instance, when I consider rushing yards allowed per game, the only standards against which defenses are measured are (a) how many yards this season’s best-in-the-category defense has allowed, and (b) how many yards this season’s worst-in-the-category defense has allowed. The best defense gets 0 points for its performance -- I don’t want to face that defense at all -- and the worst gets 100 points (which will become 400 when I base the relevant lists on 4 parts rushing yards allowed per game).
The teams falling between two statistical extremes -- e.g., all of the teams allowing more rushing yards per game than the best defense in that category, but fewer than the worst defense -- are scored according to exactly where they fall between the extremes. If the season’s best defense is allowing 50 rushing yards per game, and the season’s worst defense is allowing 200, a third defense allowing 125 will get 50 points for its performance; 125 is the exact midpoint between the extremes of 50 and 200. Once I scored each team in each statistic I was considering when making a given list, and then adjusted the scores according to the weight I was giving each statistic, I added each team’s adjusted scores and divided by the total number of “parts” to arrive at the final score that appears on the list.
If any team had the worst performance in every statistic I was considering when making a given list, the final score appearing for that team on that list would have been 100. If any team had the best performance in every statistic I was considering, the final score appearing for that team would have been 0. The closest any teams came were that Carolina is a really, really good team to match your defense against (its final score is 90), and Pittsburgh is a really, really bad team to match your running back against (its final score is 6). Only final scores above 50 and below 25 appear here; all other matchups are, in my view, neither good nor bad.
Hope you find this useful. I've taken great care to ensure that my math is correct in every case.
4 parts passing yards* allowed per game; 3 parts passing yards allowed per pass attempt; 2 parts passing touchdowns allowed per pass attempt.
* Every reference in this column to “passing yards” is to gross yards, not net yards. To my knowledge, no fantasy challenge concerns itself with yards lost on sacks.
- HOU 86
- JAX 84
- NE 67
- SEA 64
- WAS 62
- CLE 58
- ATL 54
- BUF 51
Avoid NO (22), CIN (21), NYG (18), CHI (17), CAR (15), MIN (13), BAL (8), SD (7).
4 parts rushing yards allowed per game; 3 parts rushing yards allowed per rush attempt; 2 parts rushing touchdowns allowed per rush attempt.
- BUF 88
- OAK 76
- TB 76
- DET 75
- IND 73
- DEN 64
- ARZ 62
- JAX 59
- WAS 55
- HOU 52
Avoid NYJ (24), SEA (15), PIT (6).
WIDE RECEIVER and TIGHT END
4 parts passing yards allowed per game; 3 parts passing yards allowed per pass completion; 2 parts passing touchdowns allowed per pass attempt.
- HOU 79
- JAX 79
- SEA 75
- NYJ 64
- WAS 61
- NE 59
- CLE 59
- OAK 54
- ARZ 51
Avoid CAR (23), CHI (20), SD (17), BAL (16), MIN (13).
1 part points allowed per game by defense; 1 part net yards allowed per game by defense.
- BUF 89
- HOU 86
- ARZ 77
- JAX 75
- WAS 69
- NE 66
- DET 61
- OAK 60
- TB 59
- DEN 53
Avoid SD (22), NYG (22), BAL (17), PIT (13).
3 parts points scored per game by offense; 2 parts net yards gained per game by offense; 1 part ratio of pass attempts to rush attempts by offense.*
* In case this does not go without saying, we want to face offenses that score FEWER points and gain FEWER yards. To a lesser extent, we also want to face offenses that throw more often; they tend to allow more return touchdowns.
- CAR 90
- ARZ 77
- BUF 71
- SF 70
- CLE 69
- TB 67
- CHI 62
- STL 62
- SEA 61
- MIN 60
- WAS 57
- JAX 56
- MIA 53
- OAK 52
- BAL 51
Avoid SD (20), NE (20).
Posted by Chris Metz | Oct. 22 at 11:07 PM
Nasty week for injuries. I don't think I can fit in Gates without Naanee, so I will use Gresham, who is on my bench. I am glad I got Mendenhall and Jamaal Charles last week because it makes me able to get through this week without using a trade. I can't start Rivers though, but I don't think I want to do it with him down weapons. Instead, Tom Brady. I am still using Cutler even though I don't feel great about it. If he can stay in the game he will get his numbers, it will not be pretty though. If Floyd and Naanee miss any more time I will have to make some choices with week 8 bye week hell upcoming. I suppose I'll throw a question in here. If it looks like Floyd will miss next week should I drop him for a WR who will play? Vincent Jackson is coming back soon too. Same question for Naanee. Thanks, good luck.
Posted by Chris Metz | Oct. 22 at 11:08 PM
Also, saw on the fanball board some people are considering playing Vick this week even though he may not play. Ha ha ha.
Posted by KEVIN DALLAS | Oct. 22 at 11:45 PM
Justin...was this a purely statistical analysis? I am going to compare teams' schedules to your lists and see what I come up with.
Posted by JUSTIN ELEFF | Oct. 23 at 12:05 AM
Chris: Since Vick wasn't a great idea when he was certain to play, I think you can safely assume that those people are not our competition. On dropping receivers, these next two weeks are obviously really, really tricky. I don't suggest dropping Floyd, as I can't see Jackson taking numbers away from him (certainly not receiving average, anyway) and he'll be useful as soon as he's healthy. And Naanee ... if you're ever going to start a player who won't play in a given week, he's the one. Worth having that salary on the roster no matter what. But in general, in purely theoretical terms, it does make sense to add a receiver THIS WEEK if you'd use him this week and know (as I suspect you do) you'll need him NEXT WEEK. I've been quietly churning my rosters in anticipation of Week 8 for most of a month now.
Posted by JUSTIN ELEFF | Oct. 23 at 12:09 AM
Kevin: Yes, all of this is strictly by-the-numbers. And I don't agree that it's all right, either. I mean, SD isn't really the defense that's worst for quarterbacks; more like the defense that's faced the worst quarterbacks. But there is at least some legitimacy to everything you see here, and I happen to think there's a lot of legitimacy to most of it. I'd be thrilled to see any medium- or long-range schedule analysis that incorporates these numbers.
Posted by Carlos Jackson | Oct. 23 at 03:56 AM
I too see players on Fanball board talking about putting Vick in there lineups. WHY? I guess I will have to ask them myself. I keep making little bone head mistakes so far. I thought I was been smart and pick up Keller and not A.Hernandez now it look like I have to come back and get Hernandez b/c I need the # and the cap room. If I do that I can set Gates and not cut him. I have been slipping down the ratings the last few weeks and I need to stop the bleeding. If you like you can see my team and see if I still have a chance at something. I will be greatful for the in put(Jackson Inc lg 64). Now my question I need a wr for this week and hope for the rest of the season. I know last week you said M.Wallace can be a play now since Big Ben is back. What about B.Lloyd or even J.Gaffney? Who do you think can be a good pick up. thanks again J.
Posted by JUSTIN ELEFF | Oct. 23 at 07:22 AM
Carlos: Wallace is definitely the next wide receiver I'll add. Pretty sure he comes aboard today to start in Floyd's spot; I'm working on my changes now and will let you know soon. Otherwise, I don't trust that the Broncos' WRs are settled into permanent roles yet. Demaryius Thomas still coming to shake things up.
Posted by Chris Metz | Oct. 23 at 07:59 AM
I also don't fully trust Kyle Orton. I saw a bit of the last Broncos game and I saw Denver try to run it more than usual for them and that was against the Jets. This is still the NFL and teams want to be balanced. Denver has passed all of the time out of necessity, but I can't imagine McDaniels wants to have that be their identity, even if he is Mr. pass guru. And..Orton has value only if his team passes it all the time, IMO. I will probably need a cheap QB in a week and the guy I am considering is Stafford. Lions are always behind and guys like Shaun Hill got it done, I imagine Stafford can at least accomplish that.
Posted by JUSTIN ELEFF | Oct. 23 at 12:06 PM
Carlos: Indeed bought Wallace in the FC.
Posted by JUSTIN ELEFF | Oct. 23 at 12:21 PM
Chris: Agreed re Orton. I guess we'll see how this week goes and then think about Stafford.
Posted by Carlos Jackson | Oct. 23 at 12:33 PM
Justin: I bought Wallace too.
Posted by Carlos Jackson | Oct. 23 at 12:35 PM
Justin: Are you keeping Gates in or you are going with your two healthy TE's? I will be taking Gates out. Not rolling the dice on a half a## game from him.
Posted by JUSTIN ELEFF | Oct. 23 at 12:52 PM
Carlos: For now I have Gates on the taxi squad. If things sound really good tomorrow morning I may reconsider, but I'm not afraid to use Shiancoe.
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