Sets, Snaps & Stats: Week 10

Pat Thorman examines the fantasy impact of up-tempo offenses and other emerging trends after 10 weeks of NFL action.

| 3 years ago

Pat Thorman examines the fantasy impact of up-tempo offenses and other emerging trends after 10 weeks of NFL action.

Sets, Snaps & Stats: Week 10


cpattThe weekly Sets, Snaps and Stats report is a summary of participation, formation, target and other data mined by PFF’s game charters. Used with PFF Fantasy’s own signature stats, our aim – as always – is identifying relevant trends to provide out subscribers with a competitive advantage.

Now that everyone has played at least nine games the depressing reality is we are entrenched in the stretch run of the 2013 season. Variables that NFL teams need to account for are growing and necessitate more of a reactionary stance than during the season’s first half.

Some organizations deal with this more effectively than others and that plays a large role in which teams will be separated from the herd – in both directions. Bill Belichick has often said that that the first part of the season is for figuring out what you have to work with and the real season begins after Thanksgiving. That philosophy seems to have worked pretty well for The Hoodie.

What does this have to do with fantasy? Aside from this being the part of the season where the rubber meets the road, we have a grasp of what we are dealing with both on our own rosters and with the general landscape. Paying attention to small details and what their effect will be on various matchups, then turning that knowledge into actionable roster decisions will carry the day in fantasy leagues.

For instance, while hindsight is always 20-20, it makes sense that the Broncos and Chargers game was more muted than many forecasts. The glaring lack of no-huddle by each team was a major departure from prior weeks. Yet was it really surprising that the Chargers protected an overmatched defense by abandoning their up-tempo approach in trying to control the ball? On one level it worked, as they had a 38:03 to 21:57 time of possession advantage, although it was ultimately futile.

The Broncos have a hobbled, aging franchise quarterback and serious protection issues. They too did not run a single no-huddle snap when they had done it more than any team this side of Philadelphia. It had nothing to do with their 28-6 second half lead, as they did not go up-tempo with a 7-6 second quarter advantage. Will it surprise anyone if they again take a more deliberate approach in Week 11 against the rabid Chiefs’ defense?

That is not an indictment of those who started Broncos and Chargers and were disappointed by the results. Instead it is an example of how we too easily assume something that has occurred will continue and ignore details that can tip us off to change. In the sections below we will attempt to uncover more examples of this to get ahead of the dominant short term trends we often lazily mistake for long term narratives.

Ranking

Week 10 Snaps

2013 Snaps (Avg/Gm)

Opponents (Avg/Gm)

1st

Cincinnati (87)

Denver (71.2)

Philadelphia (74.6)

2nd

Washington (77)

Buffalo (70.8)

New England (71.4)

3rd

Green Bay (75)

New England (70.3)

Minnesota (71.0)

4th

New Orleans (74)

Washington (70.3)

Dallas (70.3)

5th

Ravens/Bears (71)

Houston (70.2)

Cleveland (70.0)

If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result, Baltimore’s coaching staff needs to be fitted for purple straight jackets. While the Ravens won the game, the fact they required overtime to do so has more to do with stubborn pacing than their offensive ineptitude. Flailing away with the no-huddle on 56.3 percent of snaps while going three-and-out five times, in addition to several other quick drives, ultimately served to wear down the defense. Their own defense.

In six first half drives that did not end in a turnover or touchdown, the Bengals averaged 5.8 plays and 18.3 yards. In three third quarter drives of the same kind, the average was up to 6.3 plays and 30.7 yards. After that point Cincinnati averaged 8.3 plays and 55.7 yards on three non-turnover drives. If the Ravens do not start playing to their strengths and better hiding weaknesses, they will blow their chance to take down a division that is far more up-for-grabs than it was just two weeks ago.

Other than the Ravens and Eagles, who comically did it on two kneel-down snaps, no other team reached 30 percent of plays coming from the no-huddle. The Bills went up-tempo a little more than they had been while E.J. Manuel was on the shelf, but it mostly came in the second half when they faced a deficit. Philadelphia, who went no-huddle on 75.9 percent of snaps, has been running fewer plays of late. They have averaged 57.7 over their last three games, which is nearly 12 fewer than they had run until that point. Week 10 saw fewer snaps as a whole, with a per game average nearly two plays fewer than it had been after nine weeks.

Ranking

Week 10 Snaps

2013 Snaps (Avg/Gm)

Opponents (Avg/Gm)

32nd

Dallas (43)

San Francisco (58.3)

Houston (55.8)

31st

San Francisco (52)

Dallas (59.0)

Carolina (58.8)

30th

Minnesota (52)

Minnesota (59.8)

New Orleans (58.9)

29th

Atlanta (54)

Atlanta (61.0)

San Diego (61.0)

28th

Rams/Raiders (55)

Arizona (61.2)

CHI/GB/STL (61.9)

When the Cowboys return from a much needed bye they appear to have a great fantasy schedule lined up, and as everyone saw against the Saints, their pathetic defense will keep them in perpetual shootout mode. The problem with that is their defense may be too pathetic, and the schedule is not as accommodating as it seems. New Orleans’ offense so thoroughly controlled the Dallas defense that the Cowboys only got off 43 snaps – which was a season low and 16 fewer than their meager average. Few teams on their schedule will be able to control the ball for nearly 20 more minutes than Dallas, or run 31 more plays, but the Bears, Packers and Redskins could test that theory.

The Cowboys are at the Giants in Week 12, and New York’s poor defensive reputation is a stale narrative. Tight ends have scored 3.0 fantasy points per game against them, and running backs 8.7, in the last four contests. They have surrendered 4.3 fantasy points to quarterbacks and 8.7 to wideouts in their last three games. Opponents have run just 56 snaps per game in their last two. New York can run again thanks to Andre Brown, and despite Eli Manning’s abysmal play they still have passing game weapons. It may be a good idea to dump your ‘Boys if they can command retail prices under the premise they have shootouts on the horizon, because they might not have the ball often enough to shoot and when they do their targets are not as easy as they appear.

Now on with the rest of this week’s Sets, Snaps & Stats, after a look at a few notable games from a snaps and tempo perspective:

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Please note that penalty plays are removed from the snap totals and will differ from what is posted in our Premium Statistics game logs.

Pat Thorman is a Lead Writer for PFF Fantasy. You can follow him on Twitter at @Pat_Thorman



Pat Thorman is a lead writer for PFF Fantasy and a Fantasy Sports Writers Association award winner.

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