For many leagues, the playoffs start this week. For others, they’ve already started. Either way, this is the most important time of your season. This is the time where you prove dominant over your friends, colleges, strangers, people who keep giving you bad advice on the internet, and everyone in between.
Planning for the playoffs is critical to success. Now is not the time to roster filler players that you will never start. Now is no longer the time in which you wait for a dart throw to possibly pan out. Take some time this week and sit down and plan your starting lineup for the next few weeks to end your fantasy season.
Trim the fat and backfill your bench with one starter at each Wide Receiver and Running Back, and then only handcuffs and maybe a defense with a good matchup. Make a plan for the playoffs. This is the time of year that matters the most, so put a little extra study into it.
Maybe do a little extra research. Find a report or two or forty-five here at The FF Playbook that you can study.
What, you didn’t think I’d layer in a touch of self-promotion?
Welcome to The Stats You Should Know After Week 14 edition.
Justin Jefferson’s deployment has gotten more aggressive.
Yes, obviously, Justin Jefferson is one of the best young Wide Receivers that we’ve seen in some time. What fascinates me, however, is the change this season in how he’s been deployed over the course of the season
If you look at the visuals above and table below, you’ll see that Jefferson had a downfield deployment measure of less than 10 in all but week 1. This measure looks at the target location of every pass, completed or not, and how far past the line of scrimmage the target happened – also stripping out yards after the catch on any completions.
Following their week 7 bye, note the average air yards for Jefferson. All but one week since then has his average target distance been less than 10 – and even that was noticeably higher than his early season figures at 9.8. Jefferson continues to win downfield, and create more explosive plays for the team, while holding the same target volume throughout.
The Detroit Lions haven’t given up 100 yards rushing to Running Backs since week 7.
In their six games in weeks 1-7 (they had a bye in week6), they gave up 100 yards on the ground to the running back position five times.
Since week 8, they are also a top5 running back defense in terms of:
- Targets (5th)
- Receptions (3rd)
- Receiving Yards to Running Backs (4th)
- Rushing Touchdowns (tied for 3rd)
- Yards/Attempt (5th)
…and juuuuust missing the cut is total rushing yards allowed (7th), without consideration that many of the top6 have had their bye during that span.
Don’t look now, but Detroit might just be a run defense worth keeping an eye on in the fantasy playoffs.
The safety of Ezekiel Elliott will continue to keep him on the field for Dallas.
Fantasy managers have been clamoring for years that Tony Pollard should surpass Ezekiel Elliott on the depth chart and get the bulk of the carries in Dallas. And to be fair, its not an inherently wrong take. Pollard has been more explosive in the last two years and is regularly seen as the more dynamic and exciting runner. Naturally all of these observations come a the expense of Elliott. Unfortunately the perception of Pollard is partially unfair to Elliott, as context to data is always seemingly forgotten.
If we omit weeks 8 and 10 (the two games in which Elliott missed) we see the two runners are splitting opportunities about 60/40 in favor of Elliott, with Pollard having the slight edge in targets to offset Elliott’s more significant lead in carries.
The interesting component comes in the gamescript, where we see that Pollard takes a lead in opportunities when Dallas is losing. This naturally lends itself more to the inherent explosiveness from Pollard.
The final component – and the most fascinating component to me – comes in the measure of “bad carries.” A bad carry is defined as any carry that is less than 1 yard. Elliott has a bad carry percentage of .10, meaning that he is stopped for no gain (or a loss) on just 10% of his carries, 3rd of all running backs with at least 50 carries. This is contrasted against Pollard at 16%, much more in line with the league average.
And that is going to wrap us for The Stats You Need To Know After Week 14. As always, check out our incredible discord community where I spend time chatting with users on all manners of fantasy football, including these reports. Additionally, each and every one of these reports you see above can be accessed FOR FREE here at The FF Playbook. Dive in, slice data, and let us know all of the neat morsels you can find.
Until next week, go make the world a better place.