Better late than never! Or maybe not. I’ll leave that up to you. In week 4 I took a look at every team’s offensive performance so far in 2016 and compared it to their 2015 performance to look for improvement and decline. This week I’ll be doing the same with the defense. To the stats!
|2016 Week 1-6 Average vs 2015 Average|
Winners: Kelkowski are crushing it on the D-line this year! Nearly 8 points up on 2015! Look a bit deeper though and it has, perhaps, some of the qualities of a mirage. Firstly, JPP and friends are averaging 22.67 points per game, slightly above average for the D-line. It’s an improvement but it’s a movement from bottom of the pile to mid-table obscurity. Secondly, that average is propped up by a massive 63 points in week 3 when the ghost of Malik Jackson briefly turned up to spook Ebeneezer Kelkowski. Across the other 5 weeks they average 14.6 points, a number better only than Pete’s damp paper bag of a D-line. Despite losing Aaron Donald, the Brees are functioning better than last season too. Part of this is due to replacing the best DT in fantasy football with the second best in Fletcher Cox but Michael Bennett and Cameron Jordan are both solid producers too.
Losers: Oh T2, we knew thee well. After triumphing in the “underwhelming running back” stakes last time out, Goody and Mat show us that they can disappoint on both sides of the ball. Some of this decline is due to missing pieces (Gerald McCoy and Chandler Jones have been absent much or all of the year) but I think we see an impact of the scoring changes here. T2 hit big on Kawann Short and Gerald McCoy last season and DTs are probably the group to take the biggest hit from the downgrading of big plays. Both have scored very well but those 40 point games should be gone now for the most part. A lot of last year’s big DT scorers have done worse through the start of 2016. The Dungeoneers d-line is also down 6 points but I don’t think I can kick Pete anymore so let’s leave it at that.
Winners: There are two clear winners in this category, the Brees and the Losers. Both units were very poor last season so, like Kelkowski’s D-Line, this improvement puts them in the middle of the pack rather than raising them to the top of the charts. Slatz invested in the position in free agency and the draft with Paul Posluszny and Markus Golden delivering and Deion Jones and Leonard Floyd looking strong through the start of their rookie seasons. The Brees, meanwhile, seem to have gone for the “2015 Josh Norman” effect and just picked up a player from waivers having a monster season in Lorenzo Alexander. 51 of the 99 points they’ve scored at LB in the last three weeks have been from him. Improved play from Will Compton and Shaq Barrett is helping but to maintain this improvement they need Alexander to continue playing out of his skin.
Losers: What would Max Cubberley say if you asked him about the decline of his linebackers (4.5 points down on last season). He’d tell you that they’re still scoring more than anybody else’s linebackers so you can go fuck yourself. He’d probably also whinge on about injuries and players moving position but lets not give him a platform. Kelkowski’s overall defensive decline continues here with their linebackers regressing the most out of all the teams (6.7 points down on last season). Their situation is the reverse of the Losers’ and the Brees’. Kelkowski’s LBs were among the best in the business last season and this year they’re just… average. D’Qwell Jackson and Brandon Marshall are the main culprits here and Stephone Anthony’s reduced playing time at strong side LB for the Saints leaves them short a little bit of depth. Zach Orr is a good wire pickup though who should be able to compensate for that.
Winners: Yuk. Defensive back analysis. Well, Dyna Hard and the firebirds are both doing better this season than last. Rodney McLeod was a great pick-up for Chris and Aqib Talib’s 3 INTs so far this year certainly don’t hurt. Chris’ DBs are comfortably the highest scoring in the league so far this season and his main problem now is the potential for PLOBbage. With 43 cornerbacks to choose from on any given week, it’s no wonder that Neil is doing well but the PLOBbage is real here. Trying to predict S and (particularly) CB scoring week on week is far from easy and although Neil has done a good job it must be frustrating to look at your bench every week and see the road not taken.
Losers: The Sadness and the Champions both show an equal decline at the DB spot. For Cubberley the situation is similar to his LBs. Despite losing 9 points a game on 2015 the Champions still have the third highest scoring set of DBs in the league so this decline is as much a result of an outlying season of success as anything else. With Reshad Jones gone for the season now though Maxxxxxx will have to look deep into the waiver wire to try to maintain the pace. The Sadness, on the other hand, are, by nearly 6 points per game, the worst secondary in the Dbowl. Their decline is from mediocrity to abject failure. Looking at the scores of his players for the year to date though you wouldn’t think you were looking at a secondary so adrift from the rest of the field. To be honest, they’ve scored from disappointing to average every week rather than terribly and this slump is really a result of having no big weeks so far. A couple of INTs this week could see them pick up and return closer to the average. DBs, eh? It’s a funny old game.
Winners: Although his DB improvement is the best, Neil has improved across the board on defence this season, scoring over 10 points more than last year per game. At 86.20 points per game, his group is the best in the Dbowl at the moment but the week on week stats show a sharp decline. In weeks 1-3 the Birds averaged 108 points per game on D. In weeks 4-6 that number fell to 64 points per game. He’s had big pieces on bye in each of those weeks but it’s something to keep an eye on. If I was Neil I would be moving to address the obvious gap at DE in his roster. Maybe drop a CB or two to make ro… who am I kidding, he’s never going to drop any CBs. If you think improving by 10 points is impressive, though, look at the Brees! A 16 point increase! That takes them to averaging 76 points per game which is… wait… it’s bang average. Putting aside Pete’s crepe paper D (sorry Pete) the Brees were about that far adrift of everyone else last season. Really, it would have been more impressive to be so bad two seasons in a row.
Losers: Let’s just check in with Max Cubberley on what he thinks about his defence averaging 10 points fewer than last season. “Go fuck yourself!” Thought so. The Champions are still the second best scoring defence but last week was a low outing from them and this week’s lineup has a few too many waiver wire pickups for my liking. We’re not too far off a week where Cubberley starts 4 Texans’ linebackers and that can’t be good for anyone. The Sadness are the other team to have lost 10 points off their average. Most of that is their secondary, as discussed, though and there is some cause for optimism that those numbers could improve over the season. Despite Linval Joseph’s monster season so far the Sadness only show a 2 point improvement on the D-Line though and there is room for improvement here. Mangboob’s DEs are not inspiring and a little trade magic could really help him to improve those numbers and make a playoff push in Peter.
Winners: It will come as no surprise to anyone that the Bombermen are the big improvement on last season, averaging 24 points more per game than last season’s disappointing results. You’ll have seen that they were conspicuous by their absence in today’s report and, indeed, their defence is operating at a 0.1 loss on last year. All of this is offensive improvement and it looks like it has the legs to go all season. The Sadness are the other big improvement, nearly 15 points up on last year. This is despite giving 10 points away per game from their receivers and it shows the difference that a certified stud like Zeke Elliot can make.
Losers: Last season’s hot ticket, the Champions of the Sun, are back scrapping with everyone else this year, down 10 points on defence and 6 points on offence. Despite all of this they’re still scoring well but some thinness at RB and secondary is coming home to roost and they’re now in a position of relying on Trevor Siemian week on week for production. After them, Tamworth Two are having a ‘mare this season, giving away 8 points a game. LeSean McCoy is keeping their running game above water on his own and it’s really just the D-line and special teams (!) that account for the decline.
Peter vs. Tim Watch
Week 1: Peter (average) 179.68 vs Tim (average) 192.14. Tim wins. 1-0 to Tim (victory margin 12.46)
Week 2: Peter (average) 184.04 vs Tim (average) 200.91. Tim wins. 2-0 to Tim (victory margin 16.87)
Week 3: Peter (average) 192.11 vs Tim (average) 212.54 Tim wins. 3-0 to Tim (victory margin 20.43)
Week 4: Peter (average) 175.27 vs Tim (average) 198.18 Tim wins. 4-0 to Tim (victory margin 22.91)
Week 5: Peter (average) 177.50 vs Tim (average) 176.66 PETER WINS. 4-1 to Tim (victory margin 0.84)
Week 6: Peter (average) 170.47 vs Tim (average) 174.70 Sanity is restored, Tim wins. 5-1 to Tim (victory margin 4.23)
Season to Date: Peter (average) 179.85 vs Tim (average) 192.52. Tim leads (margin 12.68)