While I had time to kill the other day at work, I gave in and picked up ESPN The Magazine’s Fantasy Football Issue and read it. In their fantasy things to know section KC Joyner did a piece called Counterintelligence. Now I already thought Joyner was full of shit from seeing some of his stuff previously, but having just read this it only furthered my case. I am going to look at some of the dumb things he tried to pass of as wisdom this time.
In the tight end section Joyner brought up that Rob Gronkowski had a terrible yards per catch the further down-field he caught the ball, and I’m not even going to comment on that one. For the wide receivers his case was that target numbers can be deceiving, and he proved this using 4 specific pairs of teammates in which the one with the higher number of targets actually scored fewer fantasy points. His proof was this chart:
Ok, first of all, every single one of these wide receivers was a top 20 fantasy player and starter on any fantasy team in a standard 10 team league. Secondly, in every single case, touchdowns were the main deciding factor between which top wide out scored more, as in every case the player with less targets had more touchdown catches (11 to 9, 15 to 9, 9 to 7 and 8 to 2 respectively). In each case the player with more targets is also the guy whom the quarterback was probably more likely to go to on a third down play. The other problem with the less targeted guys like Laurent Robinson and Jordy Nelson was that yardage-wise they were extremely hit or miss, so their fantasy production relied entirely on their touchdown production. Jordy only had 5 100 yard games as opposed to 5 others where he had less than 55 receiving yards and 9 of his 15 touchdowns came in only 4 games. Laurent only managed 3 100 yard games and had a whopping 7 games where he didn’t manage even 50 yards. On the opposite end, Dez Bryant’s season high was only 90 receiving yards and he only had more than 80 yards on 2 occasions.
Looking at only the players KC uses, I am more inclined to draw the conclusion that touchdowns are impossible to predict and while a less targeted player may have a ‘boom’ season due to a large number of touchdowns, the more highly targeted players will tend to be more consistent and therefore less likely to ‘bust’.
In the running backs section, Joyner used his infamously stupid statistic of Good Blocking Rate (GBR). The good blocking rate, in case you aren’t familiar with made up statistics, is the % of running plays in which the offense doesn’t allow the defense to do anything to disrupt the rush attempt. I don’t know about you but I have never seen a play in the NFL where the defense did nothing to disrupt a rush attempt, its their job, they make millions of dollars to do that but nevertheless, Joyner uses GBR to support Trent Richardson as a valuable fantasy back. His argument this time is that while Cleveland was in the bottom 5 of the NFL in GBR, the other 4 teams in the bottom had valuable fantasy running backs on their teams and therefore it is possible for a running back to be successful despite a poor GBR. The other 4 teams/players were the Niners Frank Gore, the Seahawks Marshawn Lynch, the Falcons Michael Turner and the Bears Matt Forte.
First of all, Joyner blows his own stat completely out of the water by proving that GBR has no bearing on the ability to run the ball. All 4 of those backs were productive for their respective teams and both the Niners and the Bears finished in the top 10 in the league in total rushing yards.
The underlying point here is that for the most part, the teams in question were also solid to very good teams. The Niners went to the NFC title game, the Falcons won their very strong division, before injuries to Cutler and Forte the Bears looked like one of the best teams in the NFC and the Seahawks played much better than a 7-9 record suggested in a season that included wins over Baltimore, Philadelphia and Chicago down the stretch. The Browns on the other hand were in no way good last season, winning only 4 games with a 1-7 road record and 0-6 division record, and they won’t be that much better this season with a rookie quarterback and running back both starting.
The last ridiculous point Joyner made was in the quarterbacks section. He argued that even though Michael Vick is one of the best rushing quarterbacks in the league, he shouldn’t be counted on as a top 5 fantasy quarterback because he lacks the number of passing attempts of the other elite quarterbacks. This chart was provided:
|qb||pts||pass att||rush att|
So Vick projected to be the 7th best fantasy quarterback in a year where 3 quarterbacks had historical seasons…not to bad. What really made this argument insane was that after advising against Vick as a top 5 quarterback because of his low number of pass attempts, he lists Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton as exceptions to this rule, Aaron due to his insanely high yards per pass attempt and Cam because of his rushing touchdowns that came off of called plays. So if 2 of the top 4 are exceptions to the rule is there even really a rule?
Who is paying this guy, its counter-intelligent.