Week 1 Fantasy Football Matchups: Swimming With The Dolphins
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It's time to dig back into the advanced stats. Well, one stat to be specific: DAFP. No, that's not Daffy Duck trying to say, "Dap." That's Defense Adjusted Fantasy Points… well, DAFP Allowed to be accurate. It's a calculation I developed six years ago, and it's helped numerous people make the tough lineup choices when dealing with similarly ranked players. I look at weekly Fantasy Football matchups, add in the most important metrics and spit out the DAFP. The accuracy is uncanny, as year after year the success rate is in the 75-85 percent range.
Try finding an expert with that kind of weekly accuracy rankings… I can tell you first hand, you won't. I've finished No. 4 overall in weekly rankings on FantasyPros.com each of the past two years (only years I was eligible), and besides now saying, "I am Number Four," all of the time, I was around 60 percent accurate both seasons. The top spot only neared 61 percent. When I say, "Trust the matchup statistics," you should listen.
As an aside, DAFP is a tad (just slightly, don't panic) more accurate as the season progresses. As always, there are numerous roster and scheme changes with defenses, so even while I account for those, I do have to use full season stats from 2014 as part of the equation. As those fade away, DAFP becomes even stronger (why you get the 75-85 range… that is still awesome for the low end).
Each week, I'll pull out a "Heads Up matchup" at each position and tell you who to choose using DAFP and Fantasy Football matchups. In addition, I'll highlight other players who deserve a boost in the rankings so you're prepared each week.
|Quarterback Points Allowed|
|1||Miami Dolphins||WSH||23.1||17||Cleveland Browns||NYJ||16.2|
|2||Green Bay Packers||CHI||21.5||18||New Orleans Saints||ARI||15.1|
|3||Atlanta Falcons||PHI||20.5||19||Jacksonville Jaguars||CAR||14.7|
|4||New England Patriots||PIT||20.2||20||Baltimore Ravens||DEN||14.6|
|5||Arizona Cardinals||NO||20.0||21||Chicago Bears||GB||14.5|
|6||Dallas Cowboys||NYG||20.0||22||Denver Broncos||BAL||13.9|
|7||Cincinnati Bengals||OAK||19.4||23||Washington Redskins||MIA||13.8|
|8||Philadelphia Eagles||ATL||19.1||24||Seattle Seahawks||STL||13.2|
|9||Detroit Lions||SAD||18.9||25||Minnesota Vikings||SAF||13.1|
|10||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||TEN||18.8||26||San Diego Chargers||DET||13.0|
|11||Tennessee Titans||TB||18.0||27||Kansas City Chiefs||HOU||12.9|
|12||New York Giants||DAL||17.7||28||Oakland Raiders||CIN||12.8|
|13||Carolina Panthers||JAX||17.6||29||New York Jets||CLE||12.5|
|14||Buffalo Bills||IND||17.4||30||Houston Texans||KC||12.2|
|15||San Francisco 49ers||MIN||17.0||31||Indianapolis Colts||BUF||11.0|
|16||Pittsburgh Steelers||NE||16.9||32||St. Louis Rams||SEA||10.0|
Carson Palmer vs. Joe Flacco
The Saints might actually top the list of favorable matchups if I could account for the loss of P.J. Williams and Keenan Lewis; his team already allowed 251 passing yards per game last year. Palmer should have a field day in Week 1 even if he's without Michael Floyd. People also forget that Palmer was on fire through his first five games last year with 1,385 yards and 11 touchdowns.
As for Flacco, he faces a Broncos team that is actually quite scary on defense, especially at getting after the quarterback. Don't expect Flacco to have much time in the pocket with Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware bearing down all game. In addition to that, Flacco basically has one receiver: Steve Smith. Yes, I love Justin Forsett under Marc Trestman, but with deep threat Breshad Perriman out, the rest of the Ravens receivers don't create much fear.
Other Matchup Boosted QBs: Ryan Tannehill, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, Tom Brady, Tony Romo (loving him in DFS), Andy Dalton, Sam Bradford
|Running Back Points Allowed|
|1||Cincinnati Bengals||OAK||26.5||17||New York Jets||CLE||17.7|
|2||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||TEN||25.8||18||Washington Redskins||MIA||16.9|
|3||Philadelphia Eagles||ATL||25.7||19||Jacksonville Jaguars||CAR||16.1|
|4||Arizona Cardinals||NO||25.5||20||Chicago Bears||GB||15.8|
|5||Carolina Panthers||JAX||24.4||21||Kansas City Chiefs||HOU||15.2|
|6||Oakland Raiders||CIN||23.1||22||Houston Texans||KC||14.7|
|7||Dallas Cowboys||NYG||23.1||23||Minnesota Vikings||SAF||14.0|
|8||Green Bay Packers||CHI||22.1||24||Cleveland Browns||NYJ||13.7|
|9||Atlanta Falcons||PHI||22.1||25||Baltimore Ravens||DEN||13.5|
|10||San Francisco 49ers||MIN||21.9||26||Miami Dolphins||WSH||13.4|
|11||Tennessee Titans||TB||21.9||27||Seattle Seahawks||STL||13.0|
|12||Buffalo Bills||IND||21.3||28||New Orleans Saints||ARI||12.9|
|13||New York Giants||DAL||20.3||29||Indianapolis Colts||BUF||12.9|
|14||Pittsburgh Steelers||NE||19.4||30||St. Louis Rams||SEA||12.6|
|15||New England Patriots||PIT||18.9||31||San Diego Chargers||DET||12.6|
|16||Detroit Lions||SAD||18.3||32||Denver Broncos||BAL||11.5|
Doug Martin vs. Anyone for the Rams
If there was ever a matchup for Martin to prove that the offseason hype is legitimate, it's Week 1. The Titans were among the worst teams versus the run last year and really didn't improve during the offseason. The Titans allowed a league high 18 rushing touchdowns last year, and the next closest was 15 by the Lions. They also gave up 80 receptions and 719 yards to running backs last year, which bodes well for Martin and even Charles Sims in very deep leagues.
Tre Mason was already shaping up as a risky Week 1 play, as the Seahawks are brutal against the run… surprise, surprise. They gave up just 14.4 FPPG to running backs, while the Titans were way up at 22.9. The Seahawks second half was actually much better than the first, and over the last six games they allowed just one rushing touchdown and 7.5 FPPG. That's total, for all running backs on each team. Even if Mason is out and Benny Cunningham is in line for a heavy workload, that won't make up for the low effectiveness of said workload.
Other Matchup Boosted RBs: Jeremy Hill, DeMarco Murray, Andre Ellington, Jonathan Stewart, Latavius Murray, somebody for Dallas?
|Wide Receiver Points Allowed|
|1||Miami Dolphins||WSH||29.8||17||Seattle Seahawks||STL||21.9|
|2||Atlanta Falcons||PHI||29.6||18||Cincinnati Bengals||OAK||21.6|
|3||Tennessee Titans||TB||29.2||19||Chicago Bears||GB||21.5|
|4||Arizona Cardinals||NO||28.2||20||Washington Redskins||MIA||21.5|
|5||Philadelphia Eagles||ATL||27.7||21||Pittsburgh Steelers||NE||21.1|
|6||Green Bay Packers||CHI||26.9||22||New Orleans Saints||ARI||20.2|
|7||New England Patriots||PIT||26.6||23||Minnesota Vikings||SAF||19.5|
|8||Detroit Lions||SAD||24.9||24||New York Jets||CLE||18.7|
|9||Cleveland Browns||NYJ||24.8||25||New York Giants||DAL||17.9|
|10||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||TEN||24.6||26||San Diego Chargers||DET||17.8|
|11||Jacksonville Jaguars||CAR||24.5||27||Indianapolis Colts||BUF||17.8|
|12||Carolina Panthers||JAX||23.8||28||Houston Texans||KC||17.8|
|13||Dallas Cowboys||NYG||23.3||29||Buffalo Bills||IND||17.7|
|14||San Francisco 49ers||MIN||23.0||30||Oakland Raiders||CIN||16.2|
|15||Denver Broncos||BAL||22.8||31||Baltimore Ravens||DEN||16.0|
|16||Kansas City Chiefs||HOU||22.0||32||St. Louis Rams||SEA||12.3|
Kendall Wright vs. Michael Crabtree
I actually think Wright is underrated overall. Too many owners are bitter about last year and ignoring the potential for a bounceback season. The love for Wright came from 94 receptions and 1,079 yards in 2013 with just two touchdowns. "Imagine if he just scored five times," people clamored. Unfortunately, Wright's numbers dropped, but to be fair, he still finished as WR37 in standard and WR41 in PPR. Not amazing, but useful, and that was in just 14 games. Marcus Mariota is terrific over the middle of the field, and hey, what do you know, that's where Wright roams quite a bit. In addition, the Bucs still project to be one of the weakest defenses against the pass.
As for Crabtree, I think he's underrated too, now that's he's 100 percent healthy (supposedly) and has a nice running mate in rookie Amari Cooper. However, I'm not starting him in Week 1 against the Bengals defense. That secondary is extremely good, allowing just 18.6 FPPG and 142.6 YPG to opposing receivers. Crabtree will have value this season, especially in ripe matchups, but this week isn't one of them.
Other Matchup Boosted WRs: Jarvis Landry and Kenny Stills, Julio Jones and Roddy White (?), Larry Fitzgerald and John Brown, Jordan Matthews and Nelson Agholor, Randall Cobb and Devante Adams (maybe James Jones but dicey), Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola (?)
|Tight End Points Allowed|
|1||Green Bay Packers||CHI||11.8||17||Oakland Raiders||CIN||6.6|
|2||Miami Dolphins||WSH||11.3||18||St. Louis Rams||SEA||6.6|
|3||Cleveland Browns||NYJ||11.1||19||San Diego Chargers||DET||6.6|
|4||Buffalo Bills||IND||10.9||20||Detroit Lions||SAD||6.5|
|5||New York Giants||DAL||10.4||21||Houston Texans||KC||5.9|
|6||New Orleans Saints||ARI||10.4||22||Denver Broncos||BAL||5.8|
|7||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||TEN||10.3||23||Jacksonville Jaguars||CAR||5.8|
|8||Dallas Cowboys||NYG||10.1||24||San Francisco 49ers||MIN||5.8|
|9||Pittsburgh Steelers||NE||9.8||25||Chicago Bears||GB||5.8|
|10||New England Patriots||PIT||9.7||26||Washington Redskins||MIA||5.5|
|11||Cincinnati Bengals||OAK||9.3||27||New York Jets||CLE||5.1|
|12||Minnesota Vikings||SAF||9.3||28||Arizona Cardinals||NO||4.9|
|13||Carolina Panthers||JAX||8.6||29||Atlanta Falcons||PHI||4.9|
|14||Baltimore Ravens||DEN||8.2||30||Seattle Seahawks||STL||4.5|
|15||Tennessee Titans||TB||7.5||31||Kansas City Chiefs||HOU||4.5|
|16||Philadelphia Eagles||ATL||6.9||32||Indianapolis Colts||BUF||3.8|
Larry Donnell vs. Colts TEs
I'm not definitively saying one of the Colts tight ends won't outscore Donnell. The problem is predicting whether Dwayne Allen or Coby Fleener will be the man in Indy in a given week… maybe sometimes, it won't be either one. The Giants will need Donnell out of the gate, as Victor Cruz isn't playing and Rueben Randle was banged up for most of the preseason. On top of that, the Cowboys secondary is shaky, and the Giants is worse. Why does the Giants unit matter? Because they won't stop Tony Romo, Dez Bryant and the rest, and the offense will need to keep up. Enter Donnell. He had some good games last year and wasn't even 100 percent for most of the season. Going back to the Colts, the matchup is the worst for tight ends, and honestly, so is the headache of picking which tight end to use.
Other Matchup Boosted TEs: Richard Rodgers, Jordan Cameron, Charles Clay, Josh Hill or Ben Watson (would wait for this to shake out), Austin Seferain-Jenkins, Jason Witten
Photo Credit: vivi1867
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