Once the final scores are tallied each week, I, Maximilian Cubberley, feed them into a colourful spreadsheet to produce spurious stats that range from the inaccurate to the irrelevant. Last season I kept this to myself for the most part but now, you lucky bunch, you get to share in the fun too! Here’s some stats complete with half-arsed analysis from week 1 of the new season. As always, when we start something new we look to the past for validation. Let’s see how everyone’s week 1 compared to last season.
Don’t Take Offence
A lot changed in the off-season. Players were cut, players were traded, players were drafted, all David’s linebackers retired. Here’s a sweeping overview of the top offences for week 1 vs the top offences from last season.
Top 5 Offences in 2015:
- Dynaforone Firebirds (125 points on average)
- Kelkowski Don’t Play By No DynaRules (120 poa)
- Dynasore Losers (116 poa)
- Champions of the Sun (110 poa)
- DynaHard (108 poa)
Top 5 Offences in Week 1:
- Dynaforone Firebirds (132 points)
- DynaHard (122 points)
- Tamworth Two (115 points)
- East Flanders Dungeoneers (110 points)
- Champions of the Sun (107 points)
Firebirds still sit top of the pile with Champions of the Sun also holding rough position. DynaHard have powered up the rankings powered by free agent signing Joseph Randle and the surprising competence of the Tennessee Titans offence. The news is not so good for Kelkowski though where an injury to Arian Foster, Jeremy Maclin’s new position as ‘A Chiefs’ Pass Catcher Who Isn’t Travis Kelce’ and Julius Thomas’ need to break his own hand to avoid having to play for the Jags has dropped them out of the top 5 and resulted in a loss of 14 points from their average. They can console themselves with the fact that at least they’re not the Dynasore Losers though who plummet from 3rd place to 9th after one week with a staggering loss of 42 points from last season’s average. Although many predicted a sharp drop-off for Slater’s boys I don’t think anyone can have expected this and the fans will be hoping that this is a blip for the Broncos not the whole story as the Losers’ offence looks lost without Manning and Sanders as Jordy Nelson is also gone for the season.
On the other hand, maybe we should all just take solace in the fact these stats clearly mean nothing. I mean, the freshly re-branded East Flanders Dungeoneers have somehow appeared in the top 5 there gaining 16 points over their average from last year. Time will tell if the improvement is sustainable.
As a general note, whilst there are obviously big swings in points from one week to the next it should be noted that for both offence and defence, 4 of the top 5 teams at the end of last season were also in the top 5 in week 1 of last season.
On the Defensive
Top 5 Defences in 2015:
- Champions of the Sun (80 poa)
- Tamworth Two (79 poa)
- DynaHard (77 poa)
- Here Comes the Brees (75 poa)
- Dynabummer Blastermensch (75 poa)
Top 5 Defences in Week 1:
- DynaHard (115)
- Champions of the Sun (90)
- Here Comes the Brees (71)
- DynaforOne Firebirds (65)
- Dynasore Losers (61)
As with Offence we can see the Champions of the Sun holding steady and DynaHard showing improvement for what was already a good unit. Both teams should be encouraged by week 1 of this season and take it as a sign that they can improve on their positions from last season. Worryingly for the rest of the league, the Firebirds have held steady on offence and improved on defence, cracking the top 5 in week 1 when they finished 2015 as the worst defensive unit. This improvement is in no small part due to a big improvement at linebacker where Derrick Johnson’s return seems to have sparked life into the team.
Both the Tamworth Two and the Dynabunny Boostermonks dropped out of the top 5 in week 1. For the Hogs this may not be more than a blip. They scored 61 points on defence, which is a significant drop but it was a quiet week for elite rushers Chandler Jones and Olivier Vernon that should not become the new norm for these players. The Dynaboomer Bustermuffs dropped from 75 points to 39 in week 1, in large part due to a dismal 2.5 point effort from their defensive line of Kyle Williams, Cameron Wake and Mario Williams. Whilst this looks more alarming than the story for the Hogs you can’t look at those three names and say you expect single-digit defensive line performances going forward. The Bambimoons should bounce back next week.
Don’t Be Down on D
Some of you may be looking at your week 1 performances with a frowny face, worrying, particularly, about performance on the defensive side of the ball. With an average score of 64.5 on D this week the league is running at nearly 10 points under the average defensive performance than last year. There’s good news however as defensive point scoring trended up as the season went along last year. In weeks 1 to 5 last season, the average defence scored 65.1 points. In weeks 10 to 14 the average score jumped to 77.1. A lot of defensive positions are volatile, particularly DT, CB and S and it takes a while to pinpoint who the best players on the roster (or the wire) are for the coming season. Chances are that you will see your defences start to pick up more points as the season goes along and getting ahead of that knowledge curve in those volatile positions will help with that.
First to Worst
Now it’s time to overreact! Which units on which teams were good last season and terrible in week 1? Let’s find out.
- Champions of the Sun RBs – 2015 rank: 3rd, Week 1 rank: 10th. With Le’Veon Bell and Lagarette Blount suspended, CJ Spiller injured and the Cleveland Cabal traded away it was no surprise to see the Champions rushing attack falter in week 1. Starting only two players for a combined 8.3 points it must have been painful viewing for the Dayman, even if it doesn’t seem to have cost him the win (disclaimer: scoring adjustments on Thursday are likely to make this statement false very shortly).
- Dynasore Losers LBs – 2015 rank: 1st, Week 1 rank: 10th. As with the Champions’ rushers above, David Slater can’t have been surprised to see his linebacking corps disintegrate. DeAndre Levy released, Terrell Suggs injured, Tamba Hali another year older and, worst of all, Chris Borland retiring has left the Losers with a makeshift unit heaped on the shoulders of Ryan Kerrigan. It may pick up (to be honest, they scored 8 points between them this week, it couldn’t get worse) but we won’t be seeing the Losers back to the top of the charts at this position this year.
- East Flanders Dungeoneers and Dynasty of Sadness Special Teams – 2015 rank: 4th and 3rd, Week 1 rank: 9th and 10th. It’s a sure sign that teams have been focusing their off-season efforts in the wrong places when special teams takes a hit. Despite how commonly acknowledged it is, both Pete Conaghan and Geoffrey Manboob seem to have forgotten that kickers and punters are the lifeblood of the team. If this course is not corrected immediately I foresee a dismal season ahead for both teams.
Last in the Past
Now let’s look at some of the units that have improved vastly over last season based on week 1 performance.
- East Flanders Dungeoneers Running Backs – 2015 rank: 10th, Week 1 rank: 2nd. When the Dungeoneers gave up Eddy Lacy for the 2nd pick in the draft it seemed like Pete Conaghan was accepting that sub par was the new par at running back. When he then traded away Lagarette Blount it seemed the white flag was already waving. Little did we know that Carlos Hyde was the second coming of LaDainian Tomlinson. Hyde put up 168 yards and 2 TDs in week 1 against the Vikings. Whilst you might question the sustainability of this, Justin Forsett and Rashad Jennings contributed another 17 points and the unit was only narrowly pipped to #1 by an Ameer Abdullah and Eddy Lacy-led Sadness rushing unit. The Dungeoneers won’t get 47 points from this lot every week but they seem to be in a position to sustain a good performance for the season. They won’t win anything if they don’t sort out their special teams though. Seriously. Sort out your special teams, Pete.
- Dynaforone Firebirds Linebackers – 2015 rank: 10th, Week 1 rank: 2nd. Julius Peppers was a lone bright spot for the Firebirds last season at linebacker. This improvement may need to be taken with a pinch of salt as, despite coming 2nd on the week, the Firebirds’ linebackers put up a good week, not a great week. Derrick Johnson is a big plus for them though and Brandon Graham will have better days ahead. The unit is not deep though so an injury in the wrong place or age catching up to Peppers could see the Firebirds dropping back down the rankings again.
That’s it from me for week 1. Theoretically I will be doing more pointless stats in the coming weeks but, realistically, I’ll probably not be bothered.