Tuesday, August 7, 2012

2012 Fantasy Football: Team Schedule Rankings

Every year I like to map out how a team's schedule looks versus opposing pass and rush defenses.  It's true that a previous season will not translate into guaranteed future results, so the following information is intended to be directional.  Use it as such.  It can help spot potential opportunities for sleepers, or be a tie-breaker for certain players you might be currently weighing 50/50 on whether or not they make your draft list.

This is not a perfect science.  I am not a statistician.  Here's what you're about to see...  I start with a league schedule matrix, simple enough.  Starting with passing defenses, all teams are ranked 1-32 in key categories I feel have an impact on the passing game from a fantasy standpoint.  Then I apply a weighted formula to create an adjusted pass defense score.  From there, the top 10 toughest teams are given a score of "-1", 11-22 are given a "0" and 23-32 a "+1".  These scores are then applied to the matrix, and will ultimately output a schedule score relative to the pass defenses a team will face.  This is then repeated for a rushing defense schedule score. (Note: I use the passing defense score interchangeably for a receiving defense score given how closely linked they are to each other.)

I break this down into multiple buckets, so you can see a team's score for the front and back half of the season, as well as how it breaks down into fantasy playoff schedules.  I fall into the camp where you have to be thinking about the playoffs on draft night.  My objective isn't to win every fantasy match-up, but win just enough to make the playoffs (7-8 games) and ensure you have the best match-ups possible.

Let's use the Broncos and Patriots pass schedule scores for an example and how to use this as a guide.
  • Denver: 
    • First half of the season is a mediocre +1 score, while the back half is a +4.  Assuming Peyton will need a few games to get things rolling, by the time the second half of the season comes around, he should be firing on all cylinders.  He has a favorable schedule, which could help you win key match-ups down the stretch.
    • Once into the playoffs though, if you have a wk15/16 schedule, the Broncos have a -2. If you're making playoff plans now, you might not want to count on Manning or any of the receiving corp for big production given the uncertainties. 
  • Patriots:
    • A lot of negative scores across the board here.  Does that mean you should steer clear of Brady and company?  No, obviously not, but this is where I'm talking about using this all as guidance.
PASS DEF Schedule Classic (weeks) ESPN Standard (weeks)
TEAM 1-7 8-14 1-14 15/16 TTL 1-13 14/15 16/17 TTL
ARI 1 -3 -2 0 -2 -1 -1 -1 -3
ATL 3 3 6 0 6 5 1 1 7
BAL -2 -1 -3 0 -3 -3 0 -1 -4
BUF -3 0 -3 -1 -4 -2 -2 -1 -5
CAR 1 1 2 2 4 2 1 2 5
CHI 2 -1 1 0 1 0 2 -1 1
CIN -4 2 -2 -1 -3 -2 0 -2 -4
CLE -1 0 -1 0 -1 -1 0 -1 -2
DAL 0 -2 -2 0 -2 -1 -2 1 -2
DEN 1 4 5 -2 3 4 0 -1 3
DET -1 2 1 -1 0 0 0 0 0
GB -2 0 -2 0 -2 -2 0 1 -1
HOU -1 2 1 2 3 0 2 2 4
IND 0 2 2 -1 1 2 -1 -1 0
JAC 1 1 2 1 3 3 -1 1 3
KC 3 0 3 2 5 4 0 1 5
MIA -4 0 -4 1 -3 -3 -1 2 -2
MIN -1 1 0 -2 -2 0 -1 0 -1
NE -3 -1 -4 -1 -5 -3 -2 0 -5
NO 4 0 4 1 5 0 1 1 2
NYG 0 0 0 -1 -1 -1 1 -1 -1
NYJ 0 -2 -2 1 -1 -2 0 2 0
OAK 0 -1 -1 1 0 -1 0 2 1
PHI -4 3 -1 -1 -2 -2 0 0 -2
PIT -1 -2 -3 -1 -4 -4 1 -2 -5
SD 2 -3 -1 0 -1 0 0 0 0
SF 1 -2 -1 0 -1 -1 1 -2 -2
SEA 0 -1 -1 0 -1 0 0 -2 -2
STL -1 -2 -3 2 -1 -4 2 0 -2
TB 2 4 6 0 6 6 1 -1 6
TEN 2 1 3 0 3 2 0 1 3
WSH 1 -1 0 -1 -1 1 -2 0 -1
RUSH DEF Schedule Classic (weeks) ESPN Standard (weeks)
TEAM 1-7 8-14 1-14 15/16 TTL 1-13 14/15 16/17 TTL
ARI -1 -1 -2 1 -1 -1 0 -2 -3
ATL 2 3 5 2 7 4 2 2 8
BAL -1 0 -1 1 0 -1 0 1 0
BUF 0 -1 -1 -2 -3 -2 0 -1 -3
CAR 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 2 2
CHI 1 -4 -3 0 -3 -2 -1 1 -2
CIN -2 1 -1 -1 -2 0 -1 -2 -3
CLE 2 -2 0 0 0 0 0 -1 -1
DAL 0 2 2 0 2 2 -1 1 2
DEN -1 3 3 0 3 2 0 1 3
DET -2 -3 -5 0 -5 -5 0 -1 -6
GB -1 1 0 -1 -1 -1 0 -1 -2
HOU -3 0 -3 0 -3 -3 1 0 -2
IND -2 0 -2 -1 -3 -2 -1 -1 -4
JAC -1 2 -2 -1 -3 -2 -1 0 -3
KC 2 2 4 2 6 3 2 1 6
MIA 1 0 1 0 1 2 -2 1 1
MIN 0 -1 -1 0 -1 0 0 -1 -1
NE -1 1 0 -2 -2 1 -2 -2 -3
NO 2 1 3 0 3 2 2 0 4
NYG 1 -1 0 -1 -1 -1 1 -1 -1
NYJ -2 -2 -4 0 -4 -3 -1 1 -3
OAK -3 2 -1 1 0 -1 0 1 0
PHI 1 1 2 0 2 1 1 1 3
PIT 1 0 1 -1 0 1 -1 1 1
SD 2 0 2 1 3 3 0 1 4
SF 1 1 2 -1 1 3 -1 -1 1
SEA 2 -2 0 0 0 0 1 0 1
STL -2 -1 -3 0 -3 -4 0 0 -4
TB 2 1 3 2 5 3 1 1 5
TEN 0 -2 -2 0 -2 -3 1 -1 -3
WSH 3 -1 2 1 3 3 0 -1 2

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