Aug 11, 2014
FantasyGuru.com IDP Analyst Corby Yarbrough can be found on Twitter @Corby_Yarbrough.
Not that there is anything we as IDP players can do about it, but I just needed to vent my grief that an already inconsistent aspect of fantasy football has the potential to drive us even a little more crazy in 2014.
Week One of the NFL preseason is in the books, and if there are two things you heard about more than anything on the game broadcasts, it was the experimental length of the extra-point attempt for the next two weeks (33 yards) and that the league is cracking down on illegal contact and defensive holding on the that side of the ball.
Penalties have negated great plays and would-be stats since the dawn of fantasy football, but it sure seems like they are really out to get IDPs in 2014.
Thanks, Legion of Boom.
Thursday night’s slate of six games saw 25 flags thrown for defensive holding and nine for illegal contact. Friday night’s six games followed with 14 defensive holding penalties and 10 illegal contacts. By weekend’s end, according to Brian McIntyre, the number had risen to a total of 53 defensive holding calls, 27 illegal contacts, and 15 defensive pass interference flags over 17 games. McIntyre noted that there were 18 penalties for illegal contact, 36 for defensive holding and 72 for DPI over the entire 2013 preseason.
How does this stack up to the entire 2013 season?
According to footballdb.com, Kansas City led the way with 20 defensive holding calls, with Dallas (15), Houston (15), Denver (14), St. Louis (14), and Detroit (14) all reaching the teens. Baltimore led the way in illegal contacts with a mere four. According to the site, in 2013′s entirety there were 37 illegal contacts called.
So let’s get a little perspective/recap here.
Across the entire 2013 NFL season, there were 313 defensive holding calls, 37 illegal contact calls, and 240 DPI flags. Already in 17 games of preseason action we have 53 defensive holding calls, 27 illegal contacts, and 15 DPIs. Take away the actually well-behaved Hall of Fame Game (two illegal contacts, a defensive holding, and DPI) and excuse my “we’re on pace for” here line, but at that weekly pace we will see 884 defensive holding calls, 425 illegal contact flags, and 238 defensive pass interference infractions during the 2014 regular season.
Defensive coaches around the league are not happy about the turn we’ve taken. IDP players are not happy about it.
Not that I would knock these guys down for their propensity to get flagged, but let it be known that Cincinnati OLB Vontaze Burfict (13) and St. Louis CB Janoris Jenkins (12) led the way for IDPs drawing yellow a season ago. Tampa Bay DT Gerald McCoy (11) and Seattle DE Michael Bennett (10) were also part of the double-digit flag club.
And if I may dip into the team defense category for a second…
While many jump to take Seattle and San Francisco as the early defense/special teams squads, I am more than happy to wait for the team I go into the season thinking will finish No. 1: St. Louis (this site agrees, by the way).
My D/ST favorites, now led by aggressive coordinator Gregg Williams, were also among the league leaders in defensive penalties (123) a season ago, according to The Football Database. Seattle (128) led the way, followed by the Rams and Tampa Bay (121) also in the 120s. Half the league’s teams had at least 101 penalties called against them.
From front to back, this will drastically affect how our IDPs and D/STs perform if this is the rate we are going to continue at. The defensive end who gets a sack, forcing a fumble that the linebacker recovered, can now be called back much easier thanks to the flag on the cornerback grazing the offensive player going down the sideline. The scenarios could go on and on.
But if Week One of the preseason was any indication, the flow of the game will certainly be affected, the aggressiveness of defensive players will undoubtedly be reigned in, and the production of our IDPs on a week-to-week basis most definitely has a chance to be hindered thanks to the NFL’s affinity for scoring.
Of course defensive holding, illegal contact, and DPI is nothing new to the game, and it should not be shocking that the league continues to keep its rules geared toward allowing offenses to flourish. But let this serve as warning: while we do our best to project those IDPs we think can flourish each week, we cannot do anything about the fact that what used to be fair game — or at least was not called as stringently — for a defensive player now has a good chance at keeping the opponent on the field longer.
Hey, wait a minute… maybe this is a good thing if our IDPs get to log more snaps.
You be the judge.
- Corby Yarbrough