Analyzing numbers is what we do in fantasy football. We look at last year's stats, we look at receiving targets, we parse fantasy points down to a small fraction so every yard counts, literally. And seven weeks into the season, it's probably past time to go over all relevant data and make adjustments as necessary.
But the key there is "relevant" data. There's one stat that you can find pretty easily, and you're better off ignoring it entirely.
There's no more frustrating stat than "points against." It's just as irrelevant as "points for" is critical. Still, those two numbers are right next to each other, as if to imply that they both matter. They don't. The only thing PA can do (I don't even like typing it out) is make you angry.
It's not technically possible, but somehow it sees like we're always on the wrong side of PA. We're being punished by the schedule, running into the highest-scoring teams and suffering losses that would be wins against any other opponent.
It definitely doesn't happen all the time, but it definitely does happen. And it definitely feels like we're getting more than our fair share of suffering. We can tell ourselves it will all even out, but if you're sitting at 2-5 and you're in the top third of your league's scoring, things need to even out now. If it takes any longer to get here, it might be too late.
Here's the thing about PA: There isn't a single thing you can do about it. There's nothing you can do to reduce what teams score against you. Teams in the NFL earn their PA. Their defenses either shut teams down, let them score at will or something in between. But you don't have the slightest impact on how your opponent's players do against you. All you can do is look at it until smoke comes out of your ears.
It's frustrating when your team scores a lot of points but your record is mediocre. You had at least some impact on how your lineup performed (you chose the starters, after all). But when every opponent has a career day against you, what can you do?
It's not what you can do, but what you shouldn't do. As in, you shouldn't look at that number. You shouldn't worry about that number. And you definitely shouldn't make any changes to your team based on that number.
That's easy for me to say but harder for you to do, especially if you're 2-5 or 1-6 and trying to right the ship. But even the best sailor in the world can't change the ocean. All they can do is navigate the waves in front of them. There are a few things you can't control in fantasy football, but many more you can't control at all. What your opponent scores against you is one of those things you'll never control.
You already know that. But you probably also know that desperation leads to poor decisions. And a bad record often makes an owner want to "do something," even if there isn't anything that can reverse a string of bad luck. All you can do is keep scoring points and wait it out.
That's also why "points for" (I don't mind typing this one out) is so important. Regardless of record, the points you're scoring indicates how strong your lineup really is. If you have a great record but a weak points total, that's a red flag. You can't expect that luck to hold, so changes will need to be made. Bad luck also won't hold, but it can be hard to do nothing while losses pile up.
We're past the point in the season where trends have developed, and you need to win your games. It's not too late if your record isn't very good, but there sure isn't much breathing room. Please don't get distracted by a meaningless stat like PA. You can't change it, and all you can do is increase your frustration level. It's okay to wonder what you did wrong to have every team have their best weeks against you. But if you can't do it with a shrug and a smile, don't bother. Otherwise you'll just end up making poor lineup choices and get yourself out of position when your luck really does change. Just ignore the stats you can't influence, and focus on what you can. Good luck this week.
Are you scoring points like a winner while your record makes you look like a loser? Are you one of those teams whose record is better than your talent? Share your thoughts below.