If you’d like to catch up on the previous inner division breakdowns, you can find the AFC and NFC East here, the North for each conference here and the West here. Division matchups account for 38 percent of a player’s games in a season, so I will use it to break ties in some instances. By now, you now the drill. Use strength of schedule and matchup outlooks this far in advance lightly and perhaps only as small tie breaker deciding between close circumstances. As mentioned in the intitial post, I do factor in divisional play when looking at projections and when those weeks will occur in the fantasy season.
Again, take this information and combine it with the defensive draft capital pieces already done by Papa RotoViz here and here, the Points/Drive app since total yardage is sporadic year to year, and have fun looking at individuals not mentioned here with the Games Splits App.
Combined Production In Division Games
|Division||Pts/Gm||Div. Rank||Yds/Gm||Div. Rank||PaYd/Gm||Div. Rank||RuYd/Gm||Div. Rank||TO/Gm||Div. Rank|
*PaYD is player output and NOT effected by yardage lost to sacks
This is a division much like the AFC East a year ago in which some of the lower output is just as much the effect of poor offense as it was good defense. The Falcons and Bucs were bad overall teams in 2013, but the Panthers were the second best defense in terms of points per drive allowed while the Saints were 11th.
Carolina was death to fantasy quarterbacks and receivers last season. They did lose Captain Munnerlyn to the Vikings and the Bucs and Falcons should both be improved throwing the football this season, but this still doesn’t project to be a defense you’re going to get cute with outside of your studs. Tampa Bay is adding the tutelage of Lovie Smith to the fold and even though they added Alterraun Verner, that’s a step backwards from having Darrelle Revis on the field.
New Orleans was a quietly good defense in 2013 and is one of my favorite speculation adds as a team defense this season even though they rank near the bottom of investing draft picks into their defense. They’ve mostly spent in free agency over the past few seasons for their additions on that side by adding Jairus Byrd, Keenan Lewis and Victor Butler while the loss of Roman Harper and Malcolm Jenkins are likely additions by subtraction. They have an offense that dictates opposing game script, an elite pass rusher in Cameron Jordan, a very good secondary, a blitz happy defensive coordinator and even though home and away splits are generally noise, they have a legit home field advantage.
|2013 Saints D||Home||Away|
One person who loves playing in the NFC South is Jimmy Graham. Graham can credit the bulk of his new contract to terrorizing his inner division rivals over the past three seasons. Not that you are benching him regardless of matchups, but he does draw Carolina and Atlanta in the fantasy playoffs, two teams he has frequently carved.
Atlanta is still a prime target to exploit even after adding Tyson Jackson and Paul Soliai to their thin defensive front. They allowed an average of 124 yards rushing in divisional play, but most of the backfields in this division could be timeshares, making that more difficult to exploit. This doesn’t mean much going forward, but I do like just looking at these ridiculously enormous numbers. The Falcons defense also let this happen twice last year.
NFC South Game Log
|7||Atlanta Falcons||31||273||18||1||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||23||256||111||1|
|8||Carolina Panthers||31||221||129||0||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||13||275||48||1|
|9||Carolina Panthers||34||249||131||2||Atlanta Falcons||10||219||78||4|
|13||Carolina Panthers||27||263||163||2||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||6||180||66||2|
|16||Carolina Panthers||17||181||81||1||New Orleans Saints||13||281||126||2|
|17||Carolina Panthers||21||149||134||2||Atlanta Falcons||20||280||76||1|
|1||New Orleans Saints||23||357||78||1||Atlanta Falcons||17||304||88||2|
|2||New Orleans Saints||16||322||75||2||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||14||125||160||2|
|12||New Orleans Saints||17||278||103||0||Atlanta Falcons||13||292||91||1|
|14||New Orleans Saints||31||313||69||0||Carolina Panthers||13||160||128||0|
|17||New Orleans Saints||42||381||98||0||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||17||219||75||1|
|11||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||41||231||186||0||Atlanta Falcons||28||288||152||3|
Meh is the only way you can describe the AFC South. They weren’t good at all in terms of providing offense, but they also didn’t even help each other out by turning over the ball a ton against each other.The Colts had pretty jarring splits in and out of division play like you’d expect. They only significant add they’ve made is D’Qwell Jackson, but the South provides plenty of comfort for them.
|2013 Colts D||Record||PPG All.||PaYd All.||RuYd All.|
|Vs AFC South||6-0||13.5||224.6||102.7|
The other teams in this division are all still in the early portions of transitional phases, especially on offense and at the QB positions. Arian Foster is the only starting running back that is returning in this division from week one of 2013, so there’s a lot of new faces around. The offenses outside of Indianapolis are likely going to be so bad that their defenses won’t be usable outside of these divisional meetings. Houston is intriguing as a defense because they are an above average unit that could prove useful in division play if their offense can sustain any kind of forward momentum. Hopefully for fantasy purposes Andre Johnson shows up for work, because he’s been fond of roasting Jacksonville and Indianapolis over the past three seasons, two teams on his fantasy playoff schedule.
Jake Locker may be a value, or perhaps he is a value trap. One thing that we know so far though, is he’s been a disaster in division play to start his career. Locker is in the streaming pile of quarterbacks for fantasy, but you not want to chase points from him in divisional play.
AFC South Game Log
|2||Houston Texans||30||298||172||2||Tennessee Titans||24||148||119||0|
|4||Indianapolis Colts||37||290||157||1||Jacksonville Jaguars||3||179||40||3|
|9||Indianapolis Colts||27||271||69||0||Houston Texans||24||350||143||0|
|11||Indianapolis Colts||30||232||137||0||Tennessee Titans||27||222||122||1|
|13||Indianapolis Colts||22||200||104||1||Tennessee Titans||14||201||162||4|
|15||Indianapolis Colts||25||180||152||1||Houston Texans||3||168||107||2|
|17||Indianapolis Colts||30||307||80||0||Jacksonville Jaguars||10||331||42||2|
|10||Jacksonville Jaguars||29||180||54||2||Tennessee Titans||27||288||83||4|
|12||Jacksonville Jaguars||13||239||118||0||Houston Texans||6||169||77||1|
|14||Jacksonville Jaguars||27||138||149||0||Houston Texans||20||357||83||2|
|16||Tennessee Titans||20||181||182||1||Jacksonville Jaguars||16||237||63||1|
|17||Tennessee Titans||16||166||151||1||Houston Texans||10||229||65||4|
Per the norm, don’t go and build your roster based on predicting the outcome of matchups. However, if you’re looking to break ties or put yourself in favorable probability; it doesn’t always have to be skirted aside.