Dominating My Fantasy League — Week 4

I did something bad.

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Someone start up Taylor Swift. I did something. Something I am not proud of and let’s just get this out of the way right now. I made the decision to drop the Chicago Bears as my Defense and picked up the Denver Broncos who were playing my beloved Jets. It’s shameful. But this was not a decision I simply made because last week the Indianapolis Colts earned 26 fantasy points against the Jets. There was more thought behind it, but I do fully admit I put my own fantasy needs ahead of the team that I have cheered for and been mainly disappointed in and honestly struggled as I watched the game. I wanted the Jets to win but at the same time, I wanted to score some serious points. I know going in the Broncos wouldn’t amass the 26 points the Colts shut down the Jets with, but I was hoping for a respectable 10–12. By the end of Thursday’s game, the Broncos pulling in 6 points in their win over my Jets, but I still won out because the Bears only scored 2 points from a fantasy perspective. Just don’t tell any diehard fans otherwise I think I have to give back all the Revis jerseys I own.

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Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, I can once again admitting to benching Dak Prescott in favor of Aaron Rodgers and Dak Prescott having ANOTHER fantastic performance with over 500 passing yards, completing 41 of his 58 attempted passes, 12 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns. I swear I had good reason to say that Prescott would face a tougher opponent in the Browns than Rodgers would deal with playing the Falcons. Really what I’ve learned is barring injury or bye week just start Prescott. He is a machine and is averaging 450 yards per game with this latest outing.

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Let’s back up — why oh why did I land on Rodgers. In 3 games Rodgers had thrown an average of 296 yards per game compared to the average quarterback who had only thrown 210 yards per game. He completed 67% of his attempted passes, in line with Dak Prescott, but he does only attempt 35 passes per game compared to Prescott who has been attempting almost 48 passes per game. Rodgers has the advantage of averaging 3 touchdowns per game, not to mention 8.4 yards per attempt. That’s a lot of stats but really what sold me on Rodgers were from the other side of the ball.

The Falcons had allowed 45 passing attempts per game on average, with 31 of those passes being caught. Where Rodgers had been averaging 296 yards per game, the Falcons allowed 363 yards per game. Rodgers has so far completed 67% of his passes, the Falcons though have allowed for a 70% completion rate. And where the average quarterback has a total of 4 touchdowns, Rodgers has 9 through 3 games. The Falcons have allowed 9 total touchdowns as well. Now when I looked at similar stats from the Browns who were facing off with Dak Prescott and the Cowboys, I saw a very different picture. The Browns have only allowed 275 passing yards per game and quarterbacks have only been able to complete 64% of their passes with this defense. To me, going in to Week 4 I thought Rodgers would play a bigger part of the game against the Falcons. The Falcons were without their starting defensive backs and Rodgers, the seasoned professional he is, knows where to exploit the young backs on the field.

So how did I get into this predicament, AGAIN?? I think it actually goes back to Rodgers so far perfect season. Rodgers hasn’t thrown a single interception or fumbled the ball. Prescott on the other hand has thrown now 3 interceptions and lost 3 fumbles. I don’t want to say that Rodgers is more conservative with his throwing to keep the streak alive, but it does feel like some risks are being avoided. Totally different things.

The other thing that sticks out to me is the team records. The Packers are currently 4–0. With the exception of the Saints game in Week 3, the Packers have put some serious distance between themselves and whoever they’re playing. Take this past week’s game. Rodgers threw 3 touchdowns — should have been 4 but the receiver didn’t realize he wasn’t over the line — in the first half alone. The second half became about managing the clock and keeping the Falcons’ defense off the field. Of the total 29.58 points, 21.12 where earned before halftime. Prescott on the other hand is trying to really do it all for the Cowboys. The Cowboys are the number one passing team right now but only have a record of 1–3. They have scored 126 points in the first four games but the defense has largely struggled in the secondary. In just this past Sunday’s game, the Cowboys trailed the Browns 41–14. They managed to score 24 points in the 4th quarter and then Odell Beckham Jr just could not be stopped to solidify the Browns’ victory. This is a good, if not obvious lesson that winning records don’t necessarily translate to fantasy success stories.

So like from here on out, Dak. Prescott. Is. My. Starter.

Some other notable findings I had for Week 4 —

Darrell Henderson replaced D’Andre Swift on my team.

  • Swift only averages 2.7 attempts per game for 6.7 yards per game.
  • Henderson averages 11.7 attempts per game for 67 yards per game compared to the average runningback that averages 6.7 attempts per game for 29 yards.
  • In total, Henderson earned 4.3 fantasy points. He was much quieter against the Giants with only 8 attempts and 22 yards.

Swapped Hunter Henry for Mo Alie-Cox.

  • Hunter Henry has been targeted 7.7 times on average for 68.7 yards.
  • Mo Alie-Cox has only been targeted 3.7 times on average for 60.3 yards. Alie-Cox may be targeted fewer times, but he’s more productive with each catch.
  • While only targeted once twice, he caught for one touchdown and earned 7.8 fantasy points.

Julio Jones is still a starter on my team, but after leaving Monday’s game just before the first half, I need to really understand what’s happening with him. He aggravated a hamstring injury back in Week 2, didn’t play in Week 3 and then only participated in half of Week 4. When he’s healthy, he’s amazing but because of this injury, would I be better keeping Robby Anderson in who is healthy and definitely becoming a bigger part of the Panthers’ offense. This past week alone he was targeted 11 times, more than double the previous week’s total targets. As I head into Week 5, I know I have a couple things to be aware of so I’m curious to see how my choices work out. At 2–2, I’d really like to move to a winning record, but more so I want some kind of confidence that my new path down the data science road isn’t totally misguided.

Check out my Week 3 Github and enjoy!

Aspiring Data Scientist