Underrated Matchups By Position DFS NFL Rest Of Season
The easiest statistic to rely on for matchups in DFS NFL is fantasy points allowed. Obviously, teams that give up a lot of fantasy points to a given position at this point in the season are going to be good matchups for that position for the rest of the season. But there are a few things that make fantasy points allowed much less predictive for NFL than any other sport.
1. Extremely small sample sizes. Right now we have 6-7 games of data. Luck is going to be a dominant factor in the FP allowed stats right now but should get more accurate as the season goes on.
2. Strength of schedule is a dominant factor. Teams that play a lot of good players at various fantasy positions are probably going to give up the most fantasy points to them, and vice versa. If a team faces a lot of poor WRs, they probably won’t allow a lot of fantasy points to WRs.
3. Game flow is a dominant factor. Teams that consistently have gotten crushed will allow much more FP to RBs, and teams that have scored a lot of points on offense will be worse against the passing game.
There are a lot of different defensive statistics to look at to determine quality of matchup. FootballOutsiders has great schedule adjusted defensive metrics. Our Sportsbook Projections look at run and pass tendencies of opponents adjusted by margin of victory. Targets by position are useful as well. I’m going to use all these stats to give some under the radar matchups by position for the rest of the season.
QB – Jacksonville Jaguars
The Saints have by far the worst pass defense according to DVOA, but their run defense is nearly as bad, which have caused teams to use more of a balanced attack against them. The Jaguars are not that high in fantasy points allowed to QBs, but mostly because they have not given up any rushing TDs to QBs this season. DVOA makes them look like the best passing fantasy point matchup; they are a strong run defense and an awful pass defense, qualities that have made the Ravens and Chiefs extremely juicy pass matchups for WRs. They allow only 3.5 yards per carry, but have given up a ton of TDs to RBs on the ground. I suspect that regresses as the season goes on. They’ve had one of the highest average margins of defeat this year, which has made teams stick to the run against them despite their issues. But Bortles has been improving and I think the offense keeps them in the game in the latter half of the season, and subsequently teams should pass more against them.
RB – Tennessee Titans
The Titans are currently 8th in fantasy points allowed to RBs, so they have been pretty stiff against the run according to this seasons numbers. But the Titans are the reverse Jaguars according to DVOA, they have an extremely good pass defense while being really vulnerable against the run. They have are 1st in opponent run percentage adjusted by margin according to our RRA statistic. What has been bringing their fantasy points allowed down is almost no action in the passing game, 14 receptions on 22 targets for no TDs, the least in the NFL. They were 2nd least last year as well, which suggests their scheme is good at preventing RB production in the passing game. While RBs who are active in the passing game may not be great plays against the Titans, guys who get the majority of their FP on the ground, such as Alfred Blue Week 7, should be really quality plays.
WR – San Francisco 49ers
The Ravens and Chiefs have looked off the charts as matchups for WRs, but I think the 49ers should be up there too. They are 3rd in Red Zone targets to WRs and 2nd in opponent yards per pass attempt. They have been hurt by a league worst -11 point scoring margin, which has caused teams to not pass the much against them and play it conservative in the red zone. But adjusted for margin, they are 3rd in opponent expected pass attempts, so if they manage to stay in games, WRs should get a lot more opportunity against them.
TE – New Orleans Saints
The Saints are both the worst pass defense in the NFL and worst against TEs by a wide margin according to DVOA. They are 2nd in fantasy points allowed to QBs, which suggests good passing fantasy point opportunities for opposing WRs and TEs. The only reason they haven’t given up a ton of FP to TEs is because of how bad their strength of schedule is. The only time they faced a good TE was Greg Olsen in Week 4, and they gave up an 8/134/2 slash line to him, which was one of the best TE fantasy performances of the year. Fantasy points allowed by TE is a really noisy stat, dominated by strength of schedule, so despite the Raiders being by far the worst team against TEs this season, I suspect the Saints will be the worst for the rest of the season.
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