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Denver's defense was still great at producing pass pressure, while two NFC East teams really improved over 2015. Also: pressure splits by number of rushers, and how sacks can be overrated. Just ask Brandon Graham (or Erik Walden).

03 Aug 2007

Fantasy Schedule Projections

by Aaron Schatz

This question showed up in the mailbag a few days ago:

Andy: I've been a subscriber the last couple of years with Football Outsiders and while the end of season info and stat analysts is spot on for my playoffs, one thing I'd love to see you guys do is provide better preseason defensive rankings.

By rankings what I mean, I'd love to see DVOA projections for each team for BOTH rushing and passing defense. The combined/overall defensive DVOA is not as helpful. Sometimes you need to plan your RBs, WRs or QBs by committee, so you need to know what weeks are best to get which team's players to cover the holes you have with existing players in your draft.

Do you anticipate breaking down Defensive DVOA into separate rush and pass defensive numbers? It would really be helpful to many of us out there.

Andy is in luck. I actually did this project for a recent issue of ESPN the Magazine, the one with David Beckham on the cover. That project was to get the easiest and hardest fantasy schedules. From what I gather, you want straight out the projected fantasy points allowed per game for each team, yes? I can provide that too.

I took the same colossal sheet filled with variables that I use for the defensive DVOA projections, and then ran regressions and played with ideas that would project fantasy rushing points allowed and fantasy passing points allowed instead of team defensive DVOA.

First, here are the projections in terms of points allowed per game, ranked from the best defense to the worst:

Team Rush Pts
Rk Pass Pts
Rk   Team Rush Pts
Rk Pass Pts
JAC 11.3 1 13.0 4 DET 16.9 17 14.3 14
BAL 14.8 2 14.7 17 NYJ 17.1 18 13.5 7
ATL 14.9 3 15.0 19 SEA 17.2 19 16.3 28
PIT 14.9 4 12.9 2 CLE 17.2 20 13.7 8
CHI 15.2 5 12.9 3 SD 17.3 21 17.0 31
CAR 15.3 6 13.9 9 NYG 17.6 22 16.0 26
DAL 15.3 7 15.9 24 BUF 17.7 23 14.0 11
GB 15.3 8 14.3 13 OAK 17.7 24 14.1 12
NE 15.4 9 12.4 1 ARI 18.2 25 15.7 23
TB 15.7 10 13.0 5 TEN 18.3 26 16.3 27
WAS 15.8 11 13.1 6 CIN 18.3 27 16.0 25
MIA 16.0 12 15.2 22 NO 19.4 28 16.6 29
MIN 16.1 13 14.7 16 KC 19.5 29 16.8 30
PHI 16.2 14 14.0 10 HOU 19.9 30 15.1 20
DEN 16.3 15 15.1 21 IND 20.9 31 15.0 18
SF 16.5 16 14.4 15 STL 21.3 32 17.6 32

The thing I want to drive home about this table is that offense is more consistent from year to year than defense is, and pass defense is more consistent from year to year than run defense is. Remember how impossible it was to run on Minnesota last year? They aren't even projected among the top 10 fantasy run defenses for 2007, and I don't believe they were one of the top 10 fantasy run defenses in 2005 either.

I have absolutely no idea how Atlanta ends up with such a high projection as a fantasy run defense, considering that they'll probably be losing late in most games and nobody really considers their front seven to be that special. But hey, that's how the projection ended up. It's probably a mistake, but you never know -- remember, that's what we thought about the Chargers business back in 2004.

Now, let's look at each team's schedule. I'm doing this two ways. First, the average fantasy points per game against the team's 15 opponents in Weeks 1-16. We're leaving out Week 17, since most fantasy leagues don't include the last week of the year. The second number is the same, except it counts the opponent in Week 14 double, the opponent in Week 15 triple, and the opponent in Week 16 quadruple, giving more importance to the teams your players will face during your fantasy football playoffs. In case you were wondering one reason why Mike Tanier and I took both Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor for our team in that experts draft...

Team Run D
Rk Run D
Rk   Team Run D
Rk Run D
JAC 17.8 1 17.4 5   NE 16.8 17 16.6 22
BAL 17.6 2 17.5 3 GB 16.8 18 17.0 12
ATL 17.4 3 17.4 4 ARI 16.8 19 16.8 17
SF 17.3 4 17.1 9 NO 16.8 20 16.7 20
TB 17.3 5 17.1 10 MIA 16.6 21 16.3 28
DEN 17.3 6 17.6 1 DAL 16.6 22 16.4 26
HOU 17.3 7 17.6 2 CHI 16.6 23 16.3 27
SEA 17.2 8 16.7 19 DET 16.5 24 16.9 14
CAR 17.2 9 16.7 21 IND 16.5 25 17.0 13
CLE 17.1 10 17.3 6 NYJ 16.4 26 16.6 23
OAK 17.1 11 16.5 24 WAS 16.4 27 16.4 25
CIN 17.0 12 17.2 8 STL 16.4 28 16.2 31
KC 17.0 13 17.1 11 PHI 16.4 29 16.8 18
TEN 17.0 14 17.3 7 MIN 16.4 30 16.2 32
SD 16.9 15 16.9 16 NYG 16.0 31 16.2 30
PIT 16.8 16 16.9 15 BUF 15.9 32 16.3 29

Oakland is interesting. They play Indianapolis in Week 15, but Jacksonville in Week 16. If you want to make it all the way to the fantasy football finals and then lose, draft LaMont Jordan. Here's passing:

Team Pass D
Rk Pass D
Rk   Team Pass D
Rk Pass D
SF 15.4 1 15.1 4 TEN 14.7 17 14.9 12
CAR 15.2 2 15.4 1 CLE 14.7 18 14.8 17
TB 15.1 3 15.1 8 SD 14.7 19 14.8 16
OAK 15.0 4 14.7 21 DET 14.7 20 15.3 3
JAC 15.0 5 14.7 22 PHI 14.7 21 15.1 6
HOU 15.0 6 15.0 11 IND 14.7 22 14.7 20
CHI 15.0 7 14.8 18 CIN 14.6 23 14.6 23
ATL 15.0 8 15.0 10 NO 14.6 24 14.7 19
KC 14.9 9 15.0 9 MIN 14.6 25 14.2 30
DEN 14.9 10 15.3 2 NE 14.5 26 14.4 26
BAL 14.9 11 15.1 5 WAS 14.4 27 14.5 25
SEA 14.9 12 14.8 15 DAL 14.4 28 14.3 29
GB 14.9 13 14.8 14 NYJ 14.4 29 14.4 28
STL 14.8 14 14.6 24 NYG 14.2 30 14.1 31
ARI 14.8 15 15.1 7 BUF 14.2 31 14.4 27
PIT 14.8 16 14.9 13 MIA 13.9 32 13.8 32

Alex Smith fever! Do I have any takers? It's strange how the teams with the easiest passing schedules don't actually have quarterbacks anyone would want to draft in their fantasy leagues.

Let it be noted that these projections were done fairly quickly, and are not perfect. No projections are perfect, of course. On that note, while I'm talking about projections, I wanted to point out something I wrote on the new fantasy football open discussion board. Normally, I don't plan on responding to stuff in there -- I would prefer to be e-mailed directly -- but I thought this was an important point.

The issue was the high projection for Donovan McNabb. If this projection is wrong, does it mean the tool is flawed? Here was my response:

OF COURSE the tool is flawed.

All tools are flawed. All of these statistical projection systems are flawed. Ours, and everyone else's. When I throw 25 variables in there to project a quarterback's performance, I can guarantee you there are at least 25 variables that would improve the projection but either a) I have not even thought of them yet, or b) we have no way of collecting the data in an orderly, objective fashion.

Every year, we seem to project the St. Louis offense too low. I've tried a ton of variables to fix that. Nothing has worked yet. It's possible St. Louis has just enjoyed a couple of lucky years, and there's nothing wrong with the projection systems. It is also possible we just haven't figured out what is the missing "X" variable that would solve our St. Louis offensive issue.

(Note: This doesn't change the fact that the Rams defense sucks.)

The team projections and the KUBIAK projections both improve each year as we gather new data and consider new ideas. That's also why you will see FO people, including me, say things like "yeah, that number is weird, we don't quite agree with that one." A good example of this: I know the KUBIAK projections have Frank Gore ahead of LaDainian Tomlinson, but if I had the first pick in a fantasy draft, I would take LT, just like everyone else.

It's something to remember when you see a projection that doesn't seem to make sense -- like the projection above for the Atlanta defense vs. fantasy running backs. It's possible that the projection system is picking up something most people don't understand. It's also possible that we're missing a variable that would improve things. If you think there's a pattern of weird projections and you can figure out what variable they all have in common, feel free to e-mail me and suggest something for me to try in the projection systems. I'm all ears.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 03 Aug 2007

37 comments, Last at 29 Aug 2007, 8:54pm by Ydef


by Tom (not verified) :: Fri, 08/03/2007 - 3:06pm

I feel sorry for JP Losman.

by pawnking (not verified) :: Fri, 08/03/2007 - 3:14pm

Jax defense rules!!! Funny, I don't think I've seen them so high on other draft baords, but the seem to be clearly the class of your projections, head and shoulders above the rest. I've seen them in the 5-10 range in the mock drafts I've examined.

by Podge (not verified) :: Fri, 08/03/2007 - 3:19pm

Is it just me or does that table basically say "Take a feature back, even if he's terrible"? The worst offense should get 15.9 rush ppg, so even if every RB in the Buffalo area apart from Anthony Thomas ceased to exist he'd still be a very good fantasy pick.

So say Cedric Benson, who should get around 75% of 16.6 points (12.125 for him) would be considerably more valuable than say Jones-Drew getting 50% of 17.8 (9.4 per week)? That probably ignores MJDs TD scoring a bit, but with Greg Jones back his TDs will probably drop.

Or am I just getting this wrong?

by admin :: Fri, 08/03/2007 - 3:32pm

Re: 2. Maybe I didn't make this clear enough... these are not the projections for fantasy points by team defense. Those projections are in KUBIAK. These are projections for how many fantasy points a defense will ALLOW to offensive players.

by Randy S. (not verified) :: Fri, 08/03/2007 - 3:59pm

Jay Cutler seems like a great fantasy backup to have this season. Maybe Hasselbeck early, and Cutler in the mid rounds as a sleeper pick/playoff starter?

In that same vein, Steve Smith seems even more valuable with those bad pass defenses he faces.

by Ben Riley :: Fri, 08/03/2007 - 4:19pm

#3, it's interesting you'd chose to compare MJD with Benson. The PFP 2007 Kubiak projects MJD to finish with 1161/11 rushing and 347/2 receiving, for a total of 1508/13. Benson is projected at 1164/7 and 368/1, for a total of 1522/8 -- virtually identical yardage numbers, with five fewer TDs. But since we know TDs are harder to predict than yards, and since we know Benson is the feature back who will get the bulk of the fantasy RB points Chicago scores, I think you can create a plausible argument that Benson is undervalued at his current ADP of 3.02 (12-team league).

by Tracy (not verified) :: Fri, 08/03/2007 - 4:23pm

Looking at these projections helps me understand why KUBIAK thinks Gore will produce more fantasy points than Tomlinson this year. He gets a half a point per game bonus over Tomlinson based on defenses faced alone. Add in the fact that Tomlinson has a real backup who will take some of his carries, and Gore's got a real chance to produce more fantasy points this year.

by pawnking (not verified) :: Fri, 08/03/2007 - 4:35pm

#4, I understand this is fantasy points against, not for, defenses. However the fact that the Jacksonvill defense is so far ahead of any other is striking to me. It's 3.5 ppg ahead of #2 Pit. By contrast, Pit is only 3.6 ahead of #19 Denver. While I don't know about the fantasy implictions, that fact alone give much food for thought.

by Kal (not verified) :: Fri, 08/03/2007 - 7:00pm

Every year, we seem to project the St. Louis offense too low. I’ve tried a ton of variables to fix that. Nothing has worked yet. It’s possible St. Louis has just enjoyed a couple of lucky years, and there’s nothing wrong with the projection systems. It is also possible we just haven’t figured out what is the missing “X� variable that would solve our St. Louis offensive issue.

(Note: This doesn’t change the fact that the Rams defense sucks.)

Is there any correlation between the performance of an offense and how badly their defense plays, especially at higher levels and especially with regards to certain kinds of defense (ie, scoring)?

by morganja (not verified) :: Sat, 08/04/2007 - 12:25am

Is NE's pass defense as far as points allowed to fantasy opponents really #1? Does that not strike anyone else as very odd? Is this without taking into account the Asante Samuel situation and Chad Scott injury?

by jimmo (not verified) :: Sat, 08/04/2007 - 12:33am

I personally don't like Jacksonville's playoff schedule at all: Carolina, Pittsburgh, Oakland. I'm shocked they rank so high in the playoff list.

by evo34 (not verified) :: Sat, 08/04/2007 - 9:04am

Are the KUBIAK fantasy projections already incorporating the strengths of schedule you show here? I would assume so, but this article was written in such a way to suggest that these ratings should be applied separately to your baseline fantasy projections. I.e., are you just stripping out SOS from the KUBIAK projections, or are you introducing new factors to consider? (I am referring to full season SOS, not fantasy playoff SOS).

by Matt Schlub (not verified) :: Sat, 08/04/2007 - 1:10pm

#12 - Good question. Critically important to know whether KUBIAK projections already factor in this SOS

Aaron: possible for you guys to update this chart during the year based on actual performance? It would be nice for the Barnwell and team to include it as part of their FF weekly analysis. Would really help with Who Do I Start?

by hooper (not verified) :: Sat, 08/04/2007 - 2:06pm

Please tell me if I am reading this right (and correct me if I am not):

DEN is listed as #1 in "Run D Playoffs" and #2 in "Pass D Playoffs", which is a roundabout way of saying "pretty good".

Looking at their weeks 14-16 schedule (to account for the weighted games that increase their ranking), they face:

+ Kansas City
+ @ Houston
+ @San Diego

So, adding more importance to these three games actually HELPS Denver's projection? Granted, one of them is Houston. However, Indy plays:

+ @ Baltimore
+ @ Oakland
+ Houston

and they don't get much more bump than Denver, even though Houston's weight is greater for them (and San Diego's is the greatest for Denver).

In summary, this seems to be fantastic news for Denver's projected defensive performance in the weeks 14-16. Would I be overreaching to say that this chart is suggesting that Denver fans have reason to hope for a better ending to the season this year than last year?

Other than that, thanks for this info. I don't play FF, but I find the data quite interesting otherwise.

by Theo, Netherlands (not verified) :: Sat, 08/04/2007 - 3:07pm

"From what I gather, you want straight out the projected fantasy points allowed per game for each team, yes?"

I thought he wants to know the pass and run defensive ranks, so he knows what offensive players he should start and draft in his FF team.

by admin :: Sat, 08/04/2007 - 4:11pm

These numbers themselves are not straight out considered in the KUBIAK projections, as of now. However, these projections use most of the same variables as the standard team defense projections, and the schedule of opposing defenses is something that IS considered in KUBIAK projections.

Using this in the future is a good idea, but to be honest, I don't know if I will have time to add it this preseason. I may try, once I am done dealing with some other issues that need dealing with.

by Pat (not verified) :: Sat, 08/04/2007 - 6:33pm

#14: Er? Kansas City, Houston, and San Diego are all projected to be below-average in terms of fantasy points allowed. Not so for Baltimore (and Oakland's above average for the pass defense).

Why is that surprising at all? Neither San Diego nor Kansas City were much more than average defenses last year.

by hooper (not verified) :: Sat, 08/04/2007 - 7:25pm

Re: #17

Perhaps I wasn't clear. I was comparing Denver's D to the offenses they had to face. I was reading the increase in ranking as a projection that Denver's D would do relatively well in those last three games of the season. I wasn't reading it as a comparison of Denver's D to the opposing defenses.

by Pat (not verified) :: Sun, 08/05/2007 - 2:02am

#18: Yeah, that's not what those numbers are. They're a measure of opposing defenses. It's saying that Denver's running backs will do very, very good when you consider both the poor run defenses they normally face, and even more so in the last few weeks.

It's not talking about Denver's projected defensive performance at all.

by hooper (not verified) :: Sun, 08/05/2007 - 11:18am

Re: 19

Ok. That makes more sense to me. I couldn't figure out how the Broncos would have ranked so high defensively.

I had misinterpreted the point of the article on my first read; I thought it was attempting to predict which defenses would be best to start, not which offensive players.


by Raiderjoe (not verified) :: Sun, 08/05/2007 - 12:21pm

If play fantasy football look for D Culpepper and R Curry to have huge seasons. People may forget them but not me I would draft them in middle of draft probably and would win league with them. Culppepper playing for contract in 2008 and Curry ready to explode as next great WR. Raiders offense going to fly high this year. Will be better in 2008. 2008 Raiders might be like Air Corell Chargers team of early 1980s but with Iron Curtian Steelers type of defense. You people laugh sometimes but I will be right. You just remmeber who said it first- Raiderjoe.

by Raiderjoe (not verified) :: Sun, 08/05/2007 - 12:21pm

If play fantasy football look for D Culpepper and R Curry to have huge seasons. People may forget them but not me I would draft them in middle of draft probably and would win league with them. Culppepper playing for contract in 2008 and Curry ready to explode as next great WR. Raiders offense going to fly high this year. Will be better in 2008. 2008 Raiders might be like Air Corell Chargers team of early 1980s but with Iron Curtian Steelers type of defense. You people laugh sometimes but I will be right. You just remmeber who said it first- Raiderjoe.

by Raiderjoe (not verified) :: Mon, 08/06/2007 - 12:23am

my other advice are Falcons qb suck and falcons Rb (J Norwood) have good season maybe like 1300 yards rushing young Marcus Allen Packers Rbs not worth drafting Vikings Qb not good
Lions have some good players to draft but don't use them in Week 1 because they play Raiders Raiders defense too good for Lions expect Raiders to w in game 28-10

by Coherent Raider Fan (not verified) :: Mon, 08/06/2007 - 1:14pm

re #21-23
Raiderjoe -- You are giving Raiders fans a bad name. This is a board where people expect niceties like punctuation, spelling, proper sentence stucture and arguments backed up by facts.

If you want to convince people of the greatness of the Raiders try logical arguments like, "regression to the mean suggests that the Raiders offense will fail to match last years spectacular ineptitude."

Or, "given the quality of the Raider's D, even marginal competence by the O should result in several more wins."

Although I feel that I should point out that a combination of regression the mean and the fact that team put up leads and then sat on them last year suggests that the Raiders won't have the best pass defense in the NFL this year. I expect that it will still be rock solid though.

I really like Curry and think that he is the best WR on the Raiders (despite the fact that Whitted was starting in his place last year, he didn't get down and give up. And was the most productive player on the Raider's offense despite playing almost entirely as a 3rd down receiever) but suggesting that he is a top fantasy option or that the Raiders are going to be spectacular on offense is pretty absurd. They were terrible last year, if they improved to mediocre that would be huge and say a lot about Kiffin and Shell as coaches.

by elhondo (not verified) :: Mon, 08/06/2007 - 3:42pm

Asking raiderjoe to use whole sentences is like wanting Catholic Match Girl to wear sunglasses.

We just need to sit back and enjoy it until Raiderjoe Suicide Watch begins (week 3).

by CamraMaan (not verified) :: Mon, 08/06/2007 - 11:49pm

First, I'm glad that was cleared about about what these projected rankings are meant to mean to the every day fantasy football GM... personally, I thought it was self explanatory, but I'm glad it got sorted out. I do this same thing on my own every season before my drafts: take into consideration what player additions were made to each team's defense, and try to objectively "correct" for the player additions/subtractions. This gives me an upper hand on figuring out what a player's potential defensive match-ups will be for the season, and gives me a huge upper hand. Best example last season was Willie Parker... I drafted him onto each of my fantasy teams because he had an awesome defensive matchup throughout the season against (projected) poor rushing defenses. As a feature back, and especially as a second back on my teams, he won a few of my leagues simply because I knew I could draft him later and he would produce like a top back, which he did. This season, for example, I would make a huge bet that McGahee will surprise many in the numbers he will put up. I have him projected to face 5 top-defenses, but then 8 bad defenses, and 2 middle of the pack defenses (not counting week 17). Combined with his existing talents, a "run-first" offense (50/50 pass/run), and a great defense to keep them in games or eat out the clock (and run the ball), he'll be in the top 10 by points at the end of the season, if not top 5. Consider that Yahoo! has him projected to rank about 27th in total points at season's end, at least in one of my leagues (with its specific weights to stat categories). One SportingNews magazine has him ranked 16th among RBs, and another SN mag has him ranked as a 19th overall pick in their mock draft. (I consider SportingNews to be a very good source of objective considerations to real teams and player rankings, both on offense and defense, making their input very helpful, versus the competition in preseason fantasy football magazines.) If you can take McGahee that far back as your second RB, and if you pick up another good RB earlier, I almost guarantee you will win your league. Mind you I'm a Seahawks and Shaun Alexander fan, so this isn't some love for McGahee. Also, this is supported by the rankings up above, with BAL ranked as having the 2nd easiest schedule against run defenses (although my rankings are slightly different; I have them ranked 5th). And on that note...

Do these rankings take into consideration offseason player additions/losses to the defenses?

by CamraMaan (not verified) :: Tue, 08/07/2007 - 2:26am

I'm gonna do a test this season... like I said I have my own rankings for defenses against the run, pass (splits for QB, WR, and TE), and DEF against offenses (for drafting a DEF). All of these are based on specific player grades for every Off/Def position, with different weights on different position categories depending on what I'm ranking for (for example I don't take a secondary into consideration when ranking defense against the run). And to be clear I'm taking my player grades from SportingNews' 2007 PRO Football magazine (with scouting grades for 700+ players, in case you want to find the same magazine; they have another one with 475 scouting reports as well, but thats the wrong one). I used the exact same "edition" last year (2006 version) and with my own rankings and strategies I won three out of four leagues (one of them a champion's league, another a $50 entrance fee pooled together for a $300 grand prize), so I know that the right preparation can reap rewards, even against good competition. So for one league I'll use my own rankings, and in another I will go strictly off of the pass/run defense information above, and then see which one fairs better.

by Fatkid (not verified) :: Tue, 08/07/2007 - 6:59pm

Do the adjustments in the playoff weeks (or any weeks for that matter) account for Home Vs. Away? Generally teams do better on Offense at home than they do on the road. Is this considered at all?

I would imagine it wouldn't matter much during the year, but if you are multipling the playoff games it could swing things. As an example, NE plays all 3 playoff games at home.

by Jens the Danish Bronco (not verified) :: Tue, 08/07/2007 - 7:52pm

Raiderjoe best part of this website. Stop mocking Raiderjoe.

by CamraMaan (not verified) :: Wed, 08/08/2007 - 1:33am

RE: 28
I would consider teams playing at home to have an advantage, but integrate that into your own objective evaluations as you see fit... like I know for a fact that when the Seahawks play at home they have a very nice home field advantage simply from the crowd noise, and that affects them on defense more than on offense, or rather it affects the other team's offense (too noisy to make audible calls on the line). But to answer your question more, I would venture to guess that the stats above are not putting much weight on home/away games... but thats just a guess.

by Adam B. (not verified) :: Wed, 08/08/2007 - 1:36pm

Had you run these numbers before the 2006 season, how would they have turned out -- and how would those projections have compared to the 2006 actual results?

by CamraMaan (not verified) :: Thu, 08/09/2007 - 5:30am

First thing, its always up in the air to some degree with some of these projections because there will undoubtedly be injuries that change the face of many of these defenses over the course of the season, and on the flipside many offenses will sustain major injuries that will make opposing defenses look better than they are. On a similar note, some defenses will have lighter schedules than others versus opposing offenses, which will make them look better than they are, while others will face a tougher schedule and look worse than they are. That being said, if you're smart you'll keep an eye on what teams sustain what injuries, and try to adjust the rankings accordingly (which is easier said than done). But as for my own personal projections from '06, of my top 10 run defenses, only two ended the season outside the top 10 in yards allowed, Seattle and Denver, and Denver was ranked 12th. Versus the pass, however, only four of my top 10 ended in the top 10, with a few due to injuries, like Seattle, and a few due to defenses playing much better than probably anyone anticipated (like Oakland, and to my surprise at least, St Louis). Anyway, in short, and to try and answer your question, pre-season ranks are very mutable as the season goes on, and are simply projections to try and get an upper leg on drafting players, when it comes to fantasy football.

by STI (not verified) :: Fri, 08/10/2007 - 12:36pm

One quick question--is it just me, or is there something wrong with the fact that this model predicts the best defense in the league will allow 24 PPG?

by PatsFanInPhilly (not verified) :: Mon, 08/13/2007 - 12:22pm

#33: The projections are for FANTASY points allowed per game, not actual points allowed per game.

by Stringer Bell (not verified) :: Wed, 08/15/2007 - 7:49am

how could san fran and st. louis projection (for who they play/toughness) be so different , when 90% of their schedule is the same?

by Dan (not verified) :: Thu, 08/16/2007 - 9:29pm

St. Louis does not get to take advantage of the horrible St. Louis defense.

by Ydef (not verified) :: Wed, 08/29/2007 - 8:54pm

Interesting article Aaron. As far as St. Louis and trying to correct for their always placing last, have you tried incorporating time of offensive possession? I would give that pretty high consideration when considering chances of success of a defense; the longer they're on the field the worse they are. Considering the St Louis offense is chock full of weapons, with Stephen Jackson having an off the charts year last year (which has no reason not to become the norm) as an excellent durable all around back and clock muncher, plus Scott Linehan having done a midseason adjustment where he began focusing on feeding Jackson with 30+ touches a game, that it wouldn't be too difficult to figure out the correlation by comparing defensive statistics with Jackson's touches per game and defensive time of possession. Think for a minute how much worse the Rams defense would be if they had Minnesota's offense from last year for instance.

Also, I think CamraaMan makes some spot on points. Too much stock should NOT be put into these charts, and one should take them more as approximations. So much happens during the season that can't be predicted that you shouldn't make decisions based on the chart if the difference is say, 5 slots difference. (like if you're trying to decide between which RB to take, don't use the chart to base your decision if one RB has only a marginally better schedule than the other. That would be stupid. Only factor it in if there's a major difference between strength of schedule)

Also, to whoever was speculating about Cedric Benson, I would be hesitant to just go by just the KUBIAK projections of playing time without taking in other intangibles. For instance, since injury is such a huge factor in football a player's injury history and potential MUST be considered when considering a franchise cornerstone like 1st or 2nd runningback. Benson has NOT shown yet to be durable over the course of an entire season, and also has an upright bruising running style that emphasizes contact (think Clinton Portis). This can be advantageous in some regards but does not bode well for the longevity of a 16 game schedule. Especially if you're expected to carry a load assuming Grossman doesn't improve drastically this year and remains a frustratingly inconsistent signal caller.