RotoGuru Menu
Daily blurbs
Message Forum
Forum Keepers


Football Pickoff

NFL Schedule
Field Goals
Player Lookup

TSN Football
Sortable TSN Stats
Weekly TSNP
Team Rankings

RotoHog Football
Sortable RotoHog Stats
Weekly RHP

Hoop Pointers
Player Lookup

NBA Schedule
Full Season

Next 4 weeks

TSN Hoops
TSN Stats
Yesterday's TSNP
Team Rankings

Yesterday's RHP

Market Madness
Contest Site

Historical Stats
Recap of Entries
Unit Returns

MLB Schedule
Base Advances
Player Lookup

TSN Baseball
Sortable Stats
Yesterday's TSNP
Team Rankings

RotoHog Baseball
Sortable Stats
Yesterday's RHP

Draft Bug Baseball

Sortable Stats
Yesterday's DBP

Home page
Hall of Fame

[RotoGuru logo]
[RotoGuru subtitle]

Field Goals
Fantasy Strategy Ideas from the Guru

The Best Defense plays the Worst Offense
October 10, 1998

Picking the correct Smallworld team defense each week might be the most critical determinant of success in this game. The range of actual weekly points for defense this year spans more than 1000 SWP, from +73 to -935 (through week 5). No other roster slot presents so much potential volatility. So, what's the best way to analyze the choices?

Certainly, we can look at the weekly averages for each team defense and draw some inferences from those values, but historical averages for each team are highly dependent on the actual opponents. In fact, the weekly opposition matchup is probably the most important factor to consider. (OK, maybe weather is really the most important factor, but that's pretty hard to predict, as we all know.) While it's fairly easy to look at historical results for any team defense, identifying the results for the opposing defenses of any offense is problematic. Until now - Guru to the rescue!

The following table shows the per-game point averages for each team defense, and for the opponents of each team. The table on the left sorts the averages for team defenses, while the right hand table sorts in order of each team's opponents' defensive averages.

Average SWP per game
Comparison of Team Defenses vs. Opposing Offenses
Kansas City -185
Miami -220
Seattle -221
Bye team -325
Pittsburgh -330
Tampa Bay -348
Jacksonville -372
New Orleans -374
New England -380
Dallas -380
Denver -382
San Diego -384
Oakland -384
Buffalo -394
Arizona -396
Minnesota -397
Green Bay -403
NYGiants -420
Baltimore -428
NY Jets -432
Tennessee -448
Atlanta -450
San Francisco -465
Detroit -497
St. Louis -507
Chicago -509
Indianapolis -520
Cincinnati -526
Carolina -557
Philadelphia -581
Washington -666
Philadelphia -232
San Diego -247
Tampa Bay -261
Indianapolis -267
Arizona -278
Pittsburgh -289
Oakland -295
New York G -310
Miami -322
Bye team -325
Washington -339
Carolina -372
Tennessee -376
Seattle -385
Buffalo -392
New Orleans -415
Detroit -429
Cincinnati -432
Kansas City -434
Chicago -452
St. Louis -453
Atlanta -459
Green Bay -481
Jacksonville -499
Baltimore -504
New England -540
New York J -548
Dallas -552
Minnesota -649
Denver -714
San Francisco -718

No matter which way you look at it, the average for all teams is the same, at -418 SWP/game. That's an interesting number relative to the 325 SWP deduction for a bye-week defense, suggesting that having a bye-week defense produces an above average result. Even more interesting, though, is to look at how individual teams compare to that -325 SWP threshold. Look at team defenses in the conventional way, only three teams are averaging better than -325 per week. But look at the opponents averages. No less than nine different teams have an opponents' average better than -325 SWP through five week. One of those teams, Indianapolis, has never stuck the opposing defense with a result worse than -325 SWP.

This suggests to me that the opposing offensive team may be a more important factor than the defense itself in choosing the best defense for the coming week. A consequence of following this strategy, however, is that optimal management of defenses may require frequent trading, so the cost of the extra trades must be weighed against the potential benefits.

In the end, I guess the magic answer is to find a strong defensive team that plays multiple weak offenses in the next few weeks, where the games are to be played in locations subject to frequent bad weather. Not too much to ask for, is it?

RotoGuru is produced by Dave Hall (a.k.a. the Guru), an avid fantasy sports player. He is not employed by any of the fantasy sports games discussed within this site, and all opinions expressed are solely his own. Questions or comments are welcome, and should be emailed to Guru<>.

© Copyright 1998-2008 by Uncommon Cents, LLC. All rights reserved.