Defensive Fantasy Points Against - Weeks 5-8
Forecasting fantasy output can be a lot like predicting the weather. A lot of variables go into playing Nostradamus, and most of us are like Sex Panther—60 percent of the time, we’re right every time.
Taking opposing defenses into account when projecting or ranking offensive players is paramount. If your running back is facing the San Francisco 49ers defense, you know his production is likely to take a big hit. The opposite goes for just about any of your top skill players against New Orleans.
But how accurate is looking at a team’s season-long averages? Defenses improve or devolve for myriad reasons—health, coaching, or scheduling can cause significant fluctuations. The Browns lost Joe Haden, one of the league’s elite cornerbacks, to a four-game suspension. Unsurprisingly, their pass defense was particularly awful during his absence. As such, looking at a more recent set of games can paint a more accurate picture of what Cleveland’s defense might be doing against opposing quarterbacks and receivers.
Below you will find a chart for each position showing you the fantasy points allowed per game for every defense. The red bars indicate the season average, the blue bars are the average given up over the past four weeks, and the green bars are the team-by-team trend. Teams are giving up more fantasy points over the past four weeks than their season average if the green bar is above the red bar and vice versa.
Biggest Surprise: Carolina Panthers
Maybe playing against Tony Romo, Jay Cutler, and rookie Russell Wilson over their past three games has helped, but the Panthers are doing a pretty good job all around. They have not allowed much more than their season-long average of 14.4 points over the past four weeks. Of course, the fact teams have been able to run the ball well agains them has hampered scoring amongst their opposing quarterbacks.
File it Under “Duh:” San Francisco 49ers
As if you needed this chart to know the 49ers were giving up the fewest points to opposing quarterbacks this season. Christian Ponder’s improbable performance against them in Week 3 inflated San Francisco’s points-against figure against quarterbacks, but they have been predictably good since then.
Three Up: Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Oakland Raiders
Injuries piled up early for the Bengals secondary, and opposing quarterbacks made them pay. They have slowly gotten healthy in recent weeks, though, and it is showing despite their skid.
Three Down: Houston Texans, San Diego Chargers, Dallas Cowboys
The Texans have seen their pass defense slip in recent weeks, though Aaron Rodgers and his six-touchdown performance against them is the real reason why their average has gone up. San Diego’s figure came before their defensive annihilation of the hapless Chiefs, but they had been trending downward before then.