IDP Fantasy Football: Tackle Friendly Schedules
While it’s not new to IDP circles that certain stadium crews are more likely to award tackles than assists and some award assists at an even higher rate, I thought it would be helpful to visualize these stadium differences. By averaging the number of solo tackles per play at the stadiums these are the best and worst stadiums in terms of awarding solo tackles.
Solo Tackles Per Play – Top 25%
Solo Tackles Per Play – Bottom 25%
Most leagues score assists in addition to solos but typically award them fewer points. The significance of the assist totals will vary depending on the league. Below are the assists per play by home team stadium:
Assists Per Play – Top 25%
Assists Per Play – Bottom 25%
When I combine the solos and assists per stadium, the numbers tell a better story in terms of stadium advantages. Since most leagues award assists with half of the point value of a solo tackle, I split the average assists per play in half when combining with the average solo tackle per stadium. I’ll call this number the IDP Stadium Score. Following these numbers are the combined solo and assist scores without splitting the assists in half.
Combined Tackle/Assists Per Play – Top 25%
Combined Tackle/Assists Per Play – Bottom 25%
Knowing that the Jets, Chargers, Bills, and Giants are the top four is useful fantasy intel. The Rams caused me to double check these numbers as I mentally believed their IDP tackle stats were depressed due to their less than generous assists that are awarded at St. Louis. These numbers show that’s not as big of a factor. It also demonstrates the gulf in tackles awarded between the top and bottom stadiums. How to apply this information differs per league scoring system but overall projecting tackles just became a bit easier.
Exploiting the Schedule
Last year I wrote an article here pointing out some trends among NFL divisions to either produce higher or lower than average IDP scoring. I wondered if “a slate against the likely upward trending AFC North division and the potential rebound of the NFC East offers more upside than downside.” In that I was referring to the potential for the AFC South’s scheduling. A review of last year’s statistics show that rebound did occur among both the AFC North and the NFC East. While top linebackers in the AFC South were riddled with major, season-ending injuries (Paul Posluszny and Zach Brown), their replacements (Avery Williamson and Telvin Smith) produced solid numbers.
The AFC East maintained their strong numbers and the NFC East and AFC North both rebounded after mediocre tackle opportunities in 2013. The tackle opportunity trends relate to the stadium statistic recording crews but another contributing factor is the pace of the teams within the division. All four teams in the AFC East are top 16 pace teams and the NFC East comprises two of the top four teams.
2015’s Best IDP Tackle Opportunity Schedule
What stands out the most this season is that the AFC East faces off against the NFC East in out of conference scheduling which is a matchup of the No. 1 and No. 2 divisions in terms of combined tackle scoring for last season. (I used 1.5 points per tackle and 0.75 per assist when calculating these statistics.)
The Jets draw the No. 1 stat-friendly schedule due to their already generous home stat crew for eight games. Note that the Bills and Jets both play each other in week 17 which will subtract one quality game to each fantasy schedule. They also both play one game each against the Giants and Redskins giving them a total of eight fantasy friendly matches for tackle-heavy leagues. The Giants draw tackle-friendly Tampa Bay on the road and also travel to Buffalo in week four. In all, the Jets, Bills and Giants draw eight elite tackle-scoring matchups.
Overall, players such as Demario Davis, Nigel Bradham, and Landon Collins should get bumps as they are most likely three-down starters for teams that are among the top in tackle opportunities. Their divisional schedule and likely pace combine to provide enough plays along with generous allocation of tackle stats.
For argument’s sake, if you knew that Alshon Jeffery was playing eight games this season where his target opportunities would be at a near ideal rate, wouldn’t you place more value on Jeffery when making your projections? It’s not exactly apples to apples, but knowing this information is valuable when making projections.