THE BLITZ: Applying a Proven Mathematical Approach to NFL DFS


After crushing in its first two seasons (Optimal Lineups cashed Double-Ups in 71% of weeks in 2018!), THE BLITZ is back for another season at RotoGrinders! THE BLITZ is the latest innovation from Derek Carty, applying advanced sabermetrics analytics to football to bring you what is expected to be the most sophisticated NFL Player Projection System on the market.

You may know Carty as a DFS expert and creator of THE BAT projection system for MLB DFS, proven to outperform Vegas lines. A sabermetrician and graduate of the prestigious MLB Scout School, he has spent a decade learning from some of the greatest mathematical sports minds, many of whom are now high-ranking decision-makers in MLB front offices. He originally made a name for himself as an ESPN fantasy analyst and Fantasy Manager for Baseball Prospectus and The Hardball Times.

Optimizing THE BLITZ is PropWizard, a Professional Sports Handicapping Service-now-DFS expert. PropWizard excels in the sports gaming industry with its considerable influence in the player propositional market, and applies the same advanced methods as Vegas Oddsmakers to strengthen and refine player projections. PropWizard runs EV Analytics and was the top NFL sports bettor on SharpSide for the 2018 season. Find them on Twitter @PropWizard.

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What makes THE BLITZ such a powerhouse of proprietary algorithms and accurate projections? To start, THE BLITZ accounts for a wide array of advanced stats and factors including:


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The Power Behind THE BLITZ

The most exciting differentiators THE BLITZ offers stretch beyond these accuracy-improving stats. What truly ignites THE BLITZ one-of-a-kind capabilities is this: accounting for the detailed nuances of the game, such as:

Player Talent

Player talent is estimated using complex statistical methods to properly account for sample size, variance, historical data, aging, and context. And as with real-world performance, projections are co-dependent on each other. e.g. If Julio Jones is inactive this week, Matt Ryan projection will weaken to reflect losing his top receiving threat, while projected targets for other options like Calvin Ridley and Mohamed Sanu will increase.

Scouting Combine Data

Because sample sizes can be small in the NFL, particularly for rookies, THE BLITZ utilizes supplementary Scouting Combine data to help inform projections. This correlates on-field NFL skills to physical attributes (height, weight, hand size, arm length, etc.) and results of physical drills (40-yard dash, vertical leap, shuttle time, etc.).

Context Adjustments

It’s not enough to study a quarterback’s raw completion percentage to define him as a player. That’s why THE BLITZ takes a holistic approach towards past performance indicators to form the most cutting edge analysis available. For example:

• Quarterbacks attempt more passes when their team plays from behind and on third down; but because the defense expects the pass, fewer passes are completed. Whereas in the red zone, while fewer passes are completed, naturally a higher percentage of those completions become touchdowns.
• Running backs receive more hand-offs when playing with the lead and in short-yardage situations, but they rush for fewer yards per carry since the defense is prepared for the run. Conversely, they rush for more yards per carry when playing from behind or from the shotgun formation.

By accounting for strategic subtleties potentially overlooked by raw data, THE BLITZ neutralizes both a team’s and player’s past performances. Then, on any given week during the season, it will use the Game Script projected by Vegas to re-adjust each player to fit that week’s match-up and the implied situations they’ll face.

Individual Defensive Player Adjustments

THE BLITZ forms impressions of each defensive player and accounts for weekly inactives by adjusting the positional matchups. e.g. If a team’s best cornerback or stud linebacker becomes injured and can’t play, the system’s data intelligence will modify projections and boost an opposing wide receiver or running back value, depending upon the matchup.

Offensive Line Adjustments

Similarly, THE BLITZ forms impressions of each offensive lineman. If the team’s star left tackle is missing, the quarterback gets less time in the pocket, leading to more sacks and fewer completions. This also leads to fewer rushing yards, and fewer still if a more important rushing position (think right tackle) is missing instead.

Home Field Advantage

Teams perform better at home than on the road, but the strength of the advantage can differ based on game conditions. Teams that play in domes (like the Saints) have a stronger advantage at home, due in part to the noise factor and managing uncontrolled temperatures and wind on the road. Home teams also have a stronger advantage in prime-time night games and a weaker advantage when they challenge a divisional opponent that has a better understanding of the home team’s strengths and weaknesses. THE BLITZ tallies each of these circumstances accordingly.

Age Adjustments

Position-specific aging patterns are also an important consideration for superior projections. Running backs begin a fairly steep decline once they hit their mid-to-late 20s, for example, while quarterbacks tail off a bit slower and later.

Advanced Stats

Advanced stats like snaps, air yards, yards-after-catch, dropped passes, broken tackles, and red-zone targets are just a few of the forward-thinking statistics folded into the system’s algorithms.

Player Roles

Is a particular running back an every-down back, or does he only come in on the goal-line? Is a wide receiver targeted more often in the red zone? Player roles need to be addressed to help support accurate projections.

Manual Adjustments

In the NFL, past data isn’t necessarily a full proof indicator of future performance due to frequent turnover of team members. Consider the regularity of new head coaches, new coordinators, new schemes, and new player roles. For example:
• The Jaguars passed more than 60% of the time in 2016 (ninth highest in the NFL), but the organization claims they’ll run more in 2017. Drafting Leonard Fournette in the first round shows a commitment to that.

• Several teams (like the Bills and Browns) are switching from a 3-4 base defense to a 4-3 base defense this season

• The 49ers ran plays out of the shotgun and pistol more than 90% of the time in 2016, boosting the stats of running backs like Carlos Hyde. But for 2017 the 49ers say goodbye to Chip Kelly and his zone-read offense, and as a result, extreme shotgun usage.

• Major off-season player acquisitions such as Brandin Cooks, Marshawn Lynch, Alshon Jeffery, Terrelle Pryor, Eddie Lacy, and Martellus Bennett must be accounted for to better assess offensive schemes, targets, and usage.

Are you excited yet? You should be. THE BLITZ is your chance to invest in your DFS future and profit. By applying Carty’s sabermetric mindset and empirical analysis to create cutting-edge algorithms and data engines, you’ll be empowered with immediate access to ground-breaking, predictive football intelligence.

Carty’s proven MLB track record of yielding more accuracy than Vegas has paved the way for THE BLITZ innovation. Instead of wasting your time piecing together a DFS roster that merely works, let THE BLITZ help you identify where the smart money is.

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About the Author

Derek Carty (DerekCarty)

Derek Carty is the creator of THE BAT X (for MLB) and THE BLITZ (for NFL) projection systems, widely considered the gold standard for projections and the driving force behind multiple Milly Maker winners. You may also know him from, from his time on Baseball Tonight and SportsCenter, or from his early career managing the fantasy sections for Baseball Prospectus and The Hardball Times. While perhaps best known for DFS, he also has an elite track record in both sports betting (career ~13% ROI on thousands of publicly-tracked bets as of the end of the 2023-24 NFL season) and season-long fantasy expert leagues (11 titles while placing in the top 3 in roughly half of all leagues). On the sports betting side, you may recognize his work from EV Analytics, ScoresAndOdds, Covers, and Unabated. For season-long fantasy, THE BAT X is prominently featured at FanGraphs. While known mostly for his analytical skills, he’s also proud to be the only active fantasy or betting analyst to have graduated from MLB’s exclusive Scout School. Follow Carty on Twitter – @DerekCarty