Information Overload: Week 16

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 16

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.

— Updated injury report (Saturday morning)
— 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 Report

Ito Smith, RB, ATLOUT
Alex Collins, RB, BALOUT
Cam Newton, QB, CAROUT
Tyler Boyd, WR, CINOUT
Bruce Ellington, WR, DETOUT
Aaron Jones, RB, GB – OUT
Austin Ekeler, RB, LACOUT
Frank Gore, RB, MIAOUT
Josh Gordon, WR, NE – OUT (Suspended)
Odell Beckham, WR, NYGOUT
Quincy Enunwa, WR, NYJOUT
Isaiah Crowell, RB, NYJOUT
Carson Wentz, QB, PHIOUT
James Conner, RB, PITOUT
Randall Cobb, WR, GB – Doubtful
Rashaad Penny, RB, SEA – Questionable, Unlikely to play
Julio Jones, WR, ATL – Questionable, Game-time decision
T.Y. Hilton, WR, IND – Questionable, Game-time decision
Todd Gurley, RB, LAR – Questionable, Game-time decision
Keke Coutee, WR, HOU – Questionable, Status uncertain
Danny Amendola, WR, MIA – Questionable, Status uncertain
Juju Smith-Schuster, WR, PIT – Questionable, Status uncertain
Tajae Sharpe, WR, TEN – Questionable, Status uncertain

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 16 Pace

Pace Up Games

Giants at Indianapolis (-10) O/U 48.0
Buffalo at New England (-13.5) O/U 44.5
Cincinnati at Cleveland (-10) O/U 44.5

Pace Neutral Games

Rams (-14.5) at Arizona O/U 44.5
Pittsburgh at New Orleans (-6.5) O/U 53.0
Green Bay (-3) at Jets O/U 46.5
Houston at Philadelphia (-1.5) O/U 46.0
Atlanta (-3) at Carolina O/U 44.5
Chicago (-4) at San Francisco O/U 43.0
Tampa Bay at Dallas (-7.5) O/U 48.0

Pace Down Games

Minnesota (-6) at Detroit O/U 42.5
Jacksonville at Miami (-3.5) O/U 38.5

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

Arizona receivers against Rams defenders
Miami receivers against Jacksonville defenders
Giants receivers against Indianapolis defenders
San Francisco receivers against Chicago defenders
Zay Jones, BUF against Stephon Gilmore, NE
Chris Hogan, NE against Levi Wallace, BUF
Nelson Agholor, PHI against Johnathan Joseph, HOU

Nothing that stands out here as situations we might have been looking to target outside of perhaps Sterling Shepard against the Colts, but I think he’s still viable even after the dud he put up last week.

Matchups to Exploit

Julio Jones, ATL against James Bradberry, CAR
Davante Adams, GB against Morris Claiborne, NYJ
DeAndre Hopkins, HOU against Rasul Douglas, PHI
Demaryius Thomas, HOU against DeVante Bausby, PHI
Adam Thielen, MIN against Nevin Lawson, DET

Four of the best WRs (and Demaryius Thomas) in the game with elite matchups. There’s many people talking about jamming in high-priced RBs this week so an excellent leverage play would be to jam in expensive WRs and going cheaper at RB.

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

Carolina vs Atlanta
Atlanta vs Carolina
Minnesota vs Detroit

Overall Plus Matchups

New Orleans vs Pittsburgh
Rams vs Arizona
Indianapolis vs Giants

Overall Negative Matchups

Buffalo vs New England
Miami vs Jacksonville
Detroit vs Minnesota

Overall Terrible Matchups

Arizona vs Rams
San Francisco vs Chicago

Top Positive Run Matchups

Carolina vs Atlanta
Rams vs Arizona
Green Bay vs Jets
Dallas vs Tampa Bay
Cincinnati vs Cleveland

Keep an eye on Todd Gurley injury status – if he’s a go, he’s a viable option against the Cardinals. If he sits, then value opens up from either C.J. Anderson or John Kelley. Christian McCaffrey and Ezekiel Elliott will be chalky plays at RB for good reason. Joe Mixon could be under-owned but is an excellent tournament play given the match up and pace of this game. Jamaal Williams is one of the top value options with Aaron Jones out.

Top Negative Run Matchups

Atlanta vs Carolina
Houston vs Philadelphia
Tampa Bay vs Dallas
Giants vs Indianapolis
Philadelphia vs Houston
San Francisco vs Chicago

Tevin Coleman and Saquon Barkley have big enough roles that I’m willing to ignore the bad matchups here. The other run games I am fine steering clear of – in fact, I recommend it.

Top Positive Pass Matchups

Atlanta vs Carolina
New Orleans vs Pittsburgh
Minnesota vs Detroit
Carolina vs Atlanta
Indianapolis vs Giants

The Atlanta/Carolina game looks to be a passing shootout. I think the 44.5 total is way too low here. The Saints offense has struggled of late, but their game against the Steelers is the highest total of the week so it is a place we will want to consider them. I love the Vikings (especially Adam Thielen) this week against the Lions. The same for Andrew Luck, T.Y. Hilton, and Eric Ebron and the Colts passing attack against the woeful Giants pass defense.

Top Negative Pass Matchups

Arizona vs Rams
San Francisco vs Chicago
Detroit vs Minnesota
Miami vs Jacksonville
Buffalo vs New England

Not a single passing attack I’d consider here outside of some slight interest in the Allen to Foster connection for the Bills. If you buy into the narrative that the Jaguars are done and have quit for the season then Ryan Tannehill and Kenny Stills / Davante Parker are intriguing dart throws as a stack.

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 16 Offensive Line

Offensive Line Run Success

2018 Week 16 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


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