Information Overload: Week 14

Using highly valuable visuals, Aaron Hendrix looks closely at various advanced data sets and then comments on how we can best take advantage in daily fantasy football each week.

Week 14

All data in Information Overload is utilizing 2018 season data only. For reference to last season’s data, please refer to my Week 1 article.

Information Overload

How much information is too much information? Those familiar with my Information Overload article from the 2017 NFL Playoffs know that I believe there’s never enough. Over the course of the 2018 season, I’m going to present a boatload of data and projections (along with analysis) to help guide you through this weekend’s massive GPPs.

Here’s a quick summary of everything that is included in this article. You can click on the images to view them in more detail if you have problems viewing them. If you have ideas for things you’d like to see in future articles, be sure to leave them in the comments.

— Injury situations to monitor for the upcoming week
— Pace chart showing where teams rank in terms of pace in different game flow situations (utilizing a custom infograph)
DVOA matchups (utilizing a custom infograph)
— Offensive line versus defensive line matchups (utilizing a custom infograph)
— Team run success (offense and defense) based on run direction and offense run direction percentage (utilizing a custom infograph)
— Defense against the pass based on pass direction and distance (utilizing a custom infograph)
— Defense against specific receiver types (utilizing a custom infograph)
— My analysis of how each section impacts players and matchups from a DFS perspective

Injury Situations to Monitor

Christian Kirk, WR, ARIOUT
A.J. Green, WR. CINOUT
Emmanuel Sanders, WR, DENOUT
Kerryon Johnson, RB, DETOUT
Dontrelle Inman, WR, INDOUT
Sammy Watkins, WR, KC – OUT
Melvin Gordon, RB, LACOUT
James Conner, RB, PITOUT
Matt Breida, RB, SF – OUT
Pierre Garcon, WR, SF – OUT
DeSean Jackson, WR, TB – OUT
Joe Flacco, QB, BAL – Questionable, Unlikely to play
T.Y. Hilton, WR, IND – Questionable, Status uncertain
Isaiah Crowell, RB, NYJ – Questionable, Status uncertain
Danny Amendola, WR, MIA – Questionable, Likely to play

The big news this week is the RB situations in Los Angeles (for the Chargers), San Francisco, and Pittsburgh as the three main backs for those teams are all out leading to value in the form of Justin Jackson / Austin Ekeler, Jeff Wilson, and Jaylen Samuels. All three are viable value options at the position this week and should be popular in terms of ownership.

Emmanuel Sanders being out means more volume for Courtland Sutton, but that’s not a passing game situation to love. Dontrelle Inman being out means an uptick for the likes of Ryan Grant while DeSean Jackson remaining out means Chris Godwin and Adam Humphries are once again viable value receiving options in a likely shootout.

Pace Ranks

Pace, or the speed at which teams play, is an often overlooked statistic when it comes to NFL DFS. Those that play NBA DFS are well versed in its importance – the more possessions an NBA team has, the more opportunities a player has to score fantasy points. While efficiency with those possessions, in both basketball and football, matter – ultimately fantasy production will always benefit from more times touching the ball.

The fastest paced teams in the NFL will average under 25 seconds per play compared to the slowest paced teams averaging close to 30 seconds per play. That 5-second play differential might not seem like much but over the course of a 60-minute football game it’ll add up to more than 10 additional plays for the faster-paced team. Knowing how fast NFL teams play should be one of the steps you take each week in your weekly research process. It’ll help us identify games where there might be more plays called then in an average week (and thus more opportunities for offensive players to touch the ball) and vice versa with a slower-paced game meaning fewer opportunities.

2018 Week 14 Pace

Pace Up Games

Indianapolis at Houston (-4.5) O/U 50.0
Baltimore at Kansas City (-6.5) O/U 51.0

Pace Neutral Games

Denver (-4) at San Francisco O/U 44.5
Atlanta at Green Bay (-4) O/U 51.0
New England (-7.5) at Miami O/U 48.0
Carolina (-1) at Cleveland O/U 47.0
Pittsburgh (-10) at Oakland O/U 51.0
New Orleans (-10) at Tampa Bay O/U 55.0
Jets at Buffalo (-3.5) O/U 38.5

Pace Down Games

Cincinnati at Chargers (-14) O/U 48.0
Giants (-3.5) at Washington O/U 41.0
Detroit (-2.5) at Arizona O/U 40.5
Philadelphia at Dallas (-3.5) O/U 44.0

Pass Defense Matchups

Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of a defense, especially when it comes to pass coverage, can provide a significant edge as to how teams might attack an opposing defense (or should, but not all NFL teams are actually smart). In this section, we’re going to look at how defenses do against opposing pass offenses based on the pass direction (right, middle, and left) and distance (short and deep). We can also look at how they are against specific receivers (WR1, TE, RB, etc;). All this data is taken from Football Outsiders’ Defensive Efficiency Ratings.

There are a few points to take from their chart. First, the data does not include passes where there is a sack or an intended receiver. The numbers are adjusted based on the opposing offenses and do include defensive pass interference. Short passes are defined as those that go up to 15 yards through the air, with everything else being a deep pass. If looking at the actual chart where the rankings are taken from, positive numbers equate to more scoring thus making negative numbers better from a defensive perspective.

2018 Pass Direction and Distance

2018 Pass Defense vs Type of Receiver

Matchups to Avoid

Indianapolis receivers not named T.Y. Hilton vs Houston defenders
Kansas City receivers not named Tyreek Hill vs Baltimore defenders
Cincinnati receivers vs Chargers defenders
Miami receivers vs New England defenders
Jets receivers vs Buffalo defenders
Raiders receivers vs Pittsburgh defenders
DaeSean Hamilton, DEN vs Richard Sherman, SF
Kenny Golladay, DET vs Patrick Peterson, ARI

DaeSean Hamilton might be a popular value option at WR this week with Emmanuel Sanders out for the year, but tread cautiously as his matchup against the veteran Richard Sherman is less than desirable. Kenny Golladay has been a popular option since Marvin Jones went down, but this might be the week to jump off as he squares off against All-Pro CB Patrick Peterson.

Matchups to Exploit

Julio Jones, ATL vs. Tony Brown, GB
Curtis Samuel, CAR vs. Briean Boddy-Calhoun, CLE
Bruce Ellington, DET vs Leonard Johnson, ARI
Davante Adams, GB vs Robert Alford, ATL
Keenan Allen, LAC vs Darqueze Dennard, CIN
Josh Gordon and Julian Edelman, NE vs Miami defenders
Michael Thomas, NO vs Ryan Smith, TB
Dallas receivers vs Philadelphia defenders
Pittsburgh receivers vs Oakland defenders
Tampa Bay receivers vs New Orleans defenders

Lots to like here with the team passing attacks of the Cowboys, Steelers, and Buccaneers all in prime spots and big names like Julio Jones, Keenan Allen, Davante Adams, and Michael Thomas all primed for big games in exploitable matchups. I like Adams the most of that group as Jones is banged up, Allen is in a likely blowout and might received reduced volume, and Thomas’ volume has been reduced significantly since the Saints went run heavy with the return of Mark Ingram to the team.

Offense and Defense DVOA

One of the simplest ways to identify matchups is to simply look at how well teams matchup against one another. Utilizing DVOA data can help you do precisely that.



The Overall Matchups are Offense vs Defense

Overall Supreme Matchups

New Orleans vs Tampa Bay
Pittsburgh vs Oakland

Overall Plus Matchups

Green Bay vs Atlanta
Chargers vs Cincinnati

Overall Negative Matchups

Philadelphia vs Dallas
Buffalo vs Jets

Overall Terrible Matchups

San Francisco vs Denver
Jets vs Buffalo

Top Positive Run Matchups

Green Bay vs Atlanta
Carolina vs Cleveland
New Orleans vs Tampa Bay
Pittsburgh vs Oakland
Chargers vs Cincinnati

Can we go back to the well with Aaron Jones with a new head coach at the helm? The matchup says we should and if he doesn’t split carries like he inexplicably did last week, then he could have a massive game. Christian McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara are the two big names primed to have big games while the value spots that are the Chargers and Steelers run games will make it easier to roster said value.

Top Negative Run Matchups

Houston vs Indianapolis
Tampa Bay vs New Orleans
San Francisco vs Denver
Indianapolis vs Houston
Jets vs Buffalo

These running games are all pretty clear avoids usually, but there is extreme value in San Francisco with Matt Breida out and Alfred Morris not being utilized. Jeff Wilson should get the bulk of the work and anytime we have a RB getting that kind of volume at his price tag, matchup almost goes out the window.

Top Positive Pass Matchups

New Orleans vs Tampa Bay
Pittsburgh vs Oakland
Chargers vs Cincinnati
Green Bay vs Atlanta
New England vs Miami

These are all great passing games to target this week although I am admittedly worried about the passing game for the Chargers getting any volume due to the anticipated game script. But with Melvin Gordon out, the team could rely on the pass even with a lead so I’m not going to exclude the team from consideration. The rest are clear-cut with the likes of Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, Aaron Rodgers (biased Packers fan here but I think he comes out guns a blazing this week with McCarthy now gone), and Tom Brady at the helm of teams in favorable pass game matchups.

Top Negative Pass Matchups

Jets vs Buffalo
San Francisco vs Arizona
Buffalo vs Jets
Detroit vs Arizona
Cincinnati vs Chargers

I wasn’t interested in any of these passing attacks before I did any research. I’m definitely not interested in any of them now.

Offensive Line vs Defensive Line Matchups

It’s easy to just plug in an elite RB based on name value alone. “It’s Todd Gurley … what could possibly go wrong” is not an uncommon thought process for many DFS players. The same can often be said for cheaper running backs getting a big workload. While many DFS players will look at how opposing defenses rank against the run, they make a mistake by solely looking at that metric. We can take our research one step further by looking at how offensive and defensive lines perform in different situations including short-yardage and second level/open-field plays. We can compare the relative strength of one unit against another to find mismatches that will either have us targeting a run game more heavily than we might have previously or avoiding one we might have had our eyes on but the metrics give us cause for concern. We can even use this data to help us identify DST’s that will have a higher likelihood of putting pressure on the QB.

The following charts are provided for informational purposes. There is no analysis, but if you want my take on how to interpret the data, please feel free to leave a question in the comments.

2018 Week 14 Offensive Line

Offensive Line Run Success

2018 Week 14 Defensive Line

Defensive Line Run Success

About the Author

  • Aaron Hendrix (thehazyone)

  • Aaron Hendrix is a former professional poker player who made the transition from season long fantasy sports to DFS in October of 2014. He used to cover poker tournaments for a living until stepping into his current role at RotoGrinders. He can be found on Twitter at @aaronhendrix


  • Hutch42

    Hello, on offensive line catergories are the higher the number such as sacks, stuffed and power, the higher the number the better or the lower the better ranking? Thanks

  • thehazyone

    RG Contributor

    • Blogger of the Month

    @Hutch42 said...

    Hello, on offensive line catergories are the higher the number such as sacks, stuffed and power, the higher the number the better or the lower the better ranking? Thanks

    That is their ranking so the lower the number the better. For example, New England is 1st in Sacks – this means according to Football Outsiders metrics, they are the team least likely to give up sacks to opposing teams based on this season’s statistical performance thus far.

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