Mar 17, 2011
As I have stated on this blog in the recent past, we are all still very confident there will be a season, so we are trying our best to proceed as usual. While it is certainly going to be harder to go “big time” with upgrades this year, we do have several cool improvement on the horizon for 2011, and one of them is already completed.
I’ve made it clear this year that I do want to pay more attention to statistical analysis because I do find the league harder to figure out these days, so I think leaning a little more on the numbers can help keep our level of accuracy high. We’re always looking to give readers more information to make the best possible decisions, so I came up with the idea to produce separate projections each week that are 100% tied to the stats, and that’s exactly what we’ve done here.
What you’re looking at here is stat-based projections for Week 17 of the 2010 season. The page defaults to looking at Weeks 1-17 for the numbers. In other words, from Weeks 1-17 in 2010, the Houston Texans gave up 24.16 fantasy points per game to QBs. In Week 17, they played the Jags, so the Jacksonville QB is ranked #1 for Week 17 in these projections. So it’s going 100% off what the numbers say. These projections can be catered to your scoring systems, of course, and if you’d like you can select a different output range of weeks to review. I would recommend looking back only 4-5 weeks because especially late in a season using the entire season’s numbers can be misleading, as a team can significantly improve on defense, or get significantly worse.
The projections work for all positions: QBs, RBs, WRs, TEs, PKs, DTs, DLs, LBs, and DBs. I think it will be especially helpful for those in IDP leagues, but it’s a nice resource for all positions.
I know people really want projections for the upcoming week as early as possible. In 2010, we did improve on our timing, getting them out on a Wednesday by around 2-3pm ET as opposed to previous years, when it went as late as 9-10PM ET. I find it very difficult to get projections out much earlier for a variety of reasons (for example, on a given Tuesday there can be 4-5 teams or more that don’t even have a set QB for the week). And in many cases, we’re in the dark on injuries until Wednesday evening, or at least Wednesday afternoon when practices are going on. At the very least, these stat-based projections will help give people an early jump on the matchups, since these will be available bright and early on Tuesday mornings (oftentimes, late Monday night, after the MNF game).
I also believe these will help speed up the process of doing our regular projections because we can use these numbers as a basis for our projections and make our manual tweaks as we always do. It will also help speed up the tedious process of writing up our player matchup reports, as we always look hard at the numbers for those anyway.
Obviously, player roles will change a ton during the season, so the only solution is to list any player possible for each team/position, which is why you see all players listed for each team at every position. At the very least, we’re managed to bold and list first the player with the most touches for the season. So that’s why you’ll see Mike Kafka listed for the Eagles – but also Mike Vick bolded and listed #1 for Philly QBs.
Let’s take a quick look at some players to see how close these stat projections came to being accurate. For our purposes here, I have changed the output of weeks to the previous five games (NFL teams usually only look back 4-5 games when looking at matchups, and so do we).
- The #1 QB is then changed from the Jag QB to the Redskin QB vs. the Giants. The stat projections said 26.9 points for the Redskin starter. As we know, that was not Donovan McNabb; it was Rex Grossman. Grossman in Week 17 scored 25 fantasy points. Pretty damn good.
- The #1 RB for the week was Mike Tolbert for the Chargers against the Broncos, but if you recall he was out that week. Ryan Mathews started for the Chargers. San Diego RBs were projected to score 32.08 fantasy points in our site default scoring system (non-PPR). Mathews scored 31.9 fantasy points. Do you see why I think this new tool is a good idea?
- The WRs are a little different because the production is divvied up between 2-4 players (or more), but for our purposes the Arizona Cardinals were listed #1 based on their matchup against the 49ers, who were giving up 33.3 fantasy points per game to WRs. Amazingly, even with a terrible QB throwing him the ball (I do like Johnny Skelton’s skill set, but the dude was not ready last year), Fitz put up 11/125/1, good for 18.5 fantasy points. Guess who the #1 fantasy WR was that week? Lar Fitzgerald! So far, so good. Really good.
- At TE, the #1 ranking for the week belonged to the Titans with a matchup against Indy. As you may recall, the team moved away from starter Bo Scaife and made more of a commitment to Jared Cook late in the season. Scaife was inactive, so their potential at the position was limited, but Cook actually caught 7 passes for 58 yards, which would have been good for a rock-solid 12.8 points in a PPR, so the tool did still do the job.
- Finally, let’s take a look at the defenses. For Week 17, this tool ranked the NYJ and Dal defenses as tied for #1 against Buffalo and Philadelphia, respectively, with 11.2 projected fantasy points. You won’t believe this, but the Jets and Cowboys were the #1 and #2 fantasy defenses for Week Seventeen last year, scoring an incredible 25 and 24 fantasy points.
This is a small sampling, but these results are amazing, and I also think they clearly prove my long-standing position that you should only be looking back 4-5 games when looking at the numbers.
Now the bad news: I feel like a jackass for not rolling this bitch out sooner. But that’s in the past. Armed with this bad boy in the future, I can see us being more aggressive with our regular projections because, unless the results are terrible this coming year, I think I trust the numbers a lot more.
And there will be more upgrades and new tools to come here in 2011.