Every year about this time, there are plenty of folks in the
fantasy industry who call it "ridiculous" to put much
stock into analyzing potential matchups. While none of these folks
have every aimed their arrows directly at me when they say this,
it pains me a little bit. Why? It's bad advice.
Let me begin by saying their rationale is understandable. We
don't know what November and December holds. For that matter,
most of us don't even know what Week 1 holds. Just because
a lot changes between now and then doesn't mean we shouldn't try
to predict the future with what we know at the moment. After all,
it is our job as owners to predict the future the best we can.
Fantasy football is a stock market game, and our job as analysts
is identifying when stocks may be poised for an increase or ready
to tank. The schedule is one of the most assessable, easy-to-understand
tools we have at our disposal to warn us of when impending doom
may hit or success may be forthcoming. The trick is understanding
how offseason additions and subtractions - both from a coaching
and personnel standpoint - on defense can affect what offensive
players do this year. A lot of folks don't have
the time or desire to do this. I've done it for roughly 10 years,
and I'm pretty certain I owe a great deal of my success to it.
Having said that, it's important to understand my PMAs have never
been about ranking players based solely on projected matchups,
but rather using it as a (small) part of my evaluation. In fact,
the schedule is worth no more than 10 percent of my grade at any
position and among the last of the five to seven factors I consider
at each spot. The schedule alone does not make Odell Beckham Jr.
or David Johnson an elite player at their position. My PMAs have
always been about using matchup analysis to help unearth potential
gems in the middle-to-late rounds.
Circling back to the original premise, Week 16 is not the time
to find out Beckham will almost certainly be shadowed by Patrick
Peterson. Owners should know that before they draft him. Does
that mean OBJ is not a top-five fantasy pick? Of course not. It
means owners should know the odds are somewhat unfavorable Beckham
is going to be an elite player during their league's championship
week before they choose him. If that sounds like more detail than
one should consider, perhaps are getting an idea how much thought
I put into this.
Don't get me wrong, there is plenty of good analysis in the fantasy
industry. However, analysis without giving a second thought to
potential matchups is incomplete, just as if a financial market
analyst on TV didn't mention the history of the CEO in his/her
second-quarter recommendation of a stock and based his/her opinion
only on "recent trends." Like the stock market, fantasy
football is full of plenty of moving parts, and it is important
to be able to account for as many of the important variables as
Now back to our regularly scheduled programming
I am still fine-tuning my updated Success Score Index
(SSI), which involves meticulously grading and assigning
certain weights to several attributes that I feel are critical
to fantasy success at that position, so that score will not appear
on the first round of Big Boards this week or next. It is the
number that allows me to compare apples to oranges across the
positions. I also am not finished yet with scoring averages for
each player, although I anticipate that will be included with
the SSI for the second round of Big Boards starting in two weeks.
For all of those unfamiliar with my Big Boards, allow me to explain
the color-coding system before we start:
Red For lower-level players, a
red matchup means they should not be used in fantasy that week.
For a second- or third-tier player, drop your expectations for
them at least one grade that week (i.e. from
WR2 to WR3). For elite players, expect them to perform one level
lower than their usual status (i.e. RB1 performs like a RB2).
Yellow For lower-level
players, he is a borderline start at best. For a second- or third-tier
player, they can probably overcome the matchup if things fall
right. For the elite players, expect slightly better than average
White This one that could
go either way. In some cases, I just dont feel like I have
a good feel yet for this matchup. Generally speaking, these matchups
are winnable for all levels of players.
Green For non-elite players,
the stage is basically set for said player to exploit the matchup.
For the elite player, this matchup should produce special numbers
Note: Next week, I will release
my first Big Boards for 0.5 PPR leagues as well as The Fantasy
Championship (TFC) and FFPC Big Boards. In the final set of Big
Boards over the following two weeks, I will rank 200 players and
present my final rankings for kickers and defense/special teams.
Here is the scoring
system that I used to rank the players in the Non-PPR format:
| .5 PPR Big Board Doug Orth has written for FF
Today since 2006 and been featured in USA Today’s Fantasy
Football Preview magazine since 2010. He hosted USA Today’s
hour-long, pre-kickoff fantasy football internet chat every Sunday
in 2012-13 and appears as a guest analyst on a number of national
sports radio shows, including Sirius XM’s “Fantasy Drive”.
Doug is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.