Which DTs were most productive in 2010?

Other positions: QB | RB | WR | TE | DT

When doing a postmortem on any fantasy football season, I like to look at how a particular player performed on a per game basis adjusted for his strength of schedule (SOS). DTs are no different, except that they all played the same number of games. SOS will have an impact, but the per game aspect of it won’t make much of a difference.

Keep in mind that I used the following scoring system:

DT/ST TD = 6 points
Safety = 2 points
INT = 1 point
Fumble = 1 point
Sack = 1 point

Defensive Points Allowed
Shutout = 10
2 – 6 = 8
7 – 10 = 6
11 – 14 = 4
15 – 19 = 2
20+ = 0

Here’s a look at how the 32 DTs stack up against each other when SOS bias is removed:

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Fantasy Points Per Target: WRs

Pittsburgh Steelers Mike Wallace pulls in a pass and runs away from Carolina Panthers Nic Harris for 43 yards and a touchdown in the second quarter at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on December 23, 2010. UPI/Archie Carpenter

A few days ago, I calculated the fantasy points per touch for the running back position, and today I’m looking at fantasy points per target for wide receivers. It’s important to note that not all targets are the same. A wideout will register a target if a QB throws the ball in his direction, so it really doesn’t matter if the ball goes off the receiver’s hands or if it sails 10 feet over his head. Generally speaking, the better the QB, the better the quality of targets his receivers will see, so all else being equal, fantasy owners should usually take the WR with the better QB. (But we knew that already, right?)

A few takeaways:

– These numbers don’t include a point per reception, so they’ll skew more towards the big play, TD-heavy wideouts. I also limited the scope of the table to those receivers who saw at least 80 targets. Of the players who were targeted 30-79 times, a few names stand out: Kenny Britt (1.80 FP per target), Austin Collie (1.57), Ben Obomanu (1.50), Malcom Floyd (1.40) and Dez Bryant (1.26) would have likely finished in the Top 20 in FP/T had they stayed healthy. Jerome Simpson (1.90) was only targeted 24 times, but obviously did a lot (20-277-3) with those looks.

– Mike Wallace is explosive. If he gets his targets into the 120+ range, he’d have a great shot at becoming fantasy’s top WR. Wallace saw 4.8 targets through the first four games (with Ben Roethlisberger suspended) and 6.6 targets over the final 12 games, with Big Ben under center, so his final 2010 numbers may be a little depressed.

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My interview with FantasyPros

Late last week, FantasyPros announced that I was 2010’s Most Accurate Expert, and as a part of the competition’s post-mortem, I was asked to answer a few questions for the site’s founder, Dave Kim.

Q: Can you tell us a little about your site, The Scores Report, and how you got started in the fantasy business?

John: The Scores Report is a national sports blog. We cover all the major sports, but my focus is on fantasy football during the NFL season, and then my focus turns to the NBA and college basketball once the season is over. I started writing for Bullz-Eye in 2005 and shortly thereafter began covering fantasy football on BE and then on The Scores Report.

Q: Can you briefly describe your process for coming up with your player projections/rankings?

John: I have an engineering background, so statistics play a big role in my rankings. I calculate strength of schedule each week, and use matchups to put my rankings together. I don’t do player-specific projections, at least not yet, so my rankings probably have more “feel” than some of the more math-driven rankings that are out there. This allows me to create rankings that reflect my own opinion on each player, including the level of trust that each player has earned. In other words, if a player is a risky start but has considerable upside, I generally won’t rank them ahead of a solid start with little upside. If I have one player ranked ahead of another, it almost always means that I would personally start them in that order as well. I wouldn’t want to advise my readers to start someone that I wouldn’t start myself under the same circumstances.

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Fantasy Points Per Touch: RBs

New York Giants running back Brandon Jacobs fends off Washington Redskins line backer Brian Orakpo to pick up get back to the line of scrimmage in the first quarter at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland on January 2, 2010. UPI/Roger L. Wollenberg

After each fantasy football season, I like to do something of a post-mortem by looking at certain stats that might give me a clearer picture of what in the hell just happened. One such stat is fantasy points per touch, which takes the total (non-PPR) fantasy points divided by the sum of the player’s carries and catches.

Here’s a look at the top 20 RBs (with at least 150 total touches) ranked by fantasy points per touch.

When trying to predict a player’s outlook, I always go back to the old fantasy addage, “Talent + Opportunity = Success.” This stat gives us an idea of a player’s talent by answering the question — how productive was this player with the touches he received? If a back is listed here, it indicates that he may very well have the talent to be a top 20 fantasy RB in the NFL if he were to receive the appropriate amount of touches.

A few takeaways:

– Brandon Jacobs can run the ball. His numbers here are a little skewed due to the nine TDs he scored in 147 carries, but he averaged 5.6 yards per carry and should be the feature back somewhere even if Ahmad Bradshaw is the better all around back. 2010 marks the third season in the last four that Jacobs averaged 5.0-plus yards per carry, so his poor 2009 numbers (3.6 ypc) look to be more of an aberration than a trend.

– Jamaal Charles is really, really good. If not for the presence of Thomas Jones, he would be a top 2 or 3 RB heading into the 2011 season. As it stands, I suspect he’ll be a mid-first round pick.

– Ryan Mathews has what it takes to be a very good RB2, but he needs to stay healthy and he needs RB2 touches. His teammate, Mike Tolbert, vultured his touchdowns and will do so again if he’s still a Charger next season.

– BenJarvus Green-Ellis figures to be a sleeper heading into the 2011 season. He’s a touchdown machine and a good runner (4.4 ypc), but Belichick’s fickleness at the RB position will likely depress the Law Firm’s value a bit. He should be a very solid RB2 next season.

– Peyton Hillis outperformed Chris Johnson, Frank Gore and Michael Turner on a per touch basis. Hillis should be the Browns’ feature back heading into 2011, and should continue to be productive even if Cleveland moves to a West Coast offense since he has the pass-catching skills to be effective out of the backfield.

– Michael Bush could be a star with a new team. He’s a free agent this summer, so if the Raiders don’t resign him (though they should), he could turn into a fantasy RB2 if he lands with the right team.

– Maybe Tim Hightower should be the Cardinals’ feature back. He averaged 4.8 yards per carry and has good hands out of the backfield. People complain about his breakaway speed, but he had an 80-yard run this season. In 292 career carries, Beanie Wells has a career long run of 33 yards.

Looking for a fantasy football fix during the NFL playoffs?

Check out PlayoffBlitz.com. League sizes are unlimited, and you can set it up so that the commish pays $20 and invites owners for free, or you can set it up so that each league member pays $5. (The first option is a better deal for leagues with more than five members.) There are no prizes, but if you have your own league, you can probably set up dues/prizes offline and just use the site to handle the rosters and results.

Anyway, the game goes like this: Each week, you pick one QB, two RBs, two WRs, a TE, a K and a DT to start. Once you use a player, he’s gone for the remainder of the contest, so it takes a little strategy to ensure that you have good options for the entire run.

Scoring is fairly standard, though they award six points for passing TDs and one point for every two receptions (for WRs).

Mike Farley, who writes those NFL award power rankings which post on the weekend, has set up a league and everyone is welcome to join. (It’s free.) Just hit this link and set up your profile. It looks like the site is waiting for the final playoff rosters from the league. Once those are in, we can set up our lineups. Here’s your chance to beat me (and Anthony Stalter) in a game of skill.

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