Defense Wins Championships, Week 2 (cont.)

Updated: September 11, 2013
Kansas City Chiefs v Jacksonville Jaguars

Welcome back for a late-night update! While you can look for the initial posting each Tuesday at 6:00AM Central, we can only analyze the games we have Vegas odds for. Since the lines for the three missing games are now widely available, we can now complete the rankings and projections for week 2 in time for waiver claims (should you deem a D/ST worthy of a claim).

You can find the original posting from this morning here. There is a ton more analysis of this week behind that link!

Week 2 (updated 09/10/2013)

  1. Chicago (12.45) versus Minnesota
  2. New England (12.34) versus NY Jets
  3. Houston (9.83) versus Tennessee
  4. Cincinnati (9.21) versus Pittsburgh
  5. Seattle (7.50) versus San Francisco
  6. Miami (7.47) at Indianapolis
  7. Baltimore (7.36) versus Cleveland
  8. Oakland (7.19) versus Jacksonville
  9. Atlanta (6.89) versus St. Louis
  10. Denver (6.77) at NY Giants
  11. St. Louis (6.57) at Atlanta
  12. Carolina (6.14) at Buffalo
  13. New Orleans (6.07) at Tampa Bay
  14. Arizona (5.98) versus Detroit
  15. Green Bay (5.95) versus Washington
  16. Buffalo (5.65) versus Carolina
  17. Kansas City (5.60) versus Dallas
  18. Indianapolis (5.53) versus Miami
  19. San Francisco (5.35) at Seattle
  20. Philadelphia (5.35) versus San Diego
  21. Tampa Bay (4.97) versus New Orleans
  22. Dallas (4.96) at Kansas City
  23. Detroit (4.91) at Arizona
  24. Cleveland (4.72) at Baltimore
  25. Minnesota (4.72) at Chicago
  26. NY Giants (4.30) versus Denver
  27. Tennessee (4.26) at Houston
  28. NY Jets (3.28) at New England
  29. Washington (3.37) at Green Bay
  30. San Diego (3.09) at Philadelphia
  31. Pittsburgh (3.00) at Cincinnati
  32. Jacksonville (2.80) at Oakland


From earlier:

Of those six teams, the Texans will rate as very good, the Packers will rate as mediocre, and everyone else will probably rate as unplayable.


Quick notes on the new teams

Philadelphia, Tennessee, Washington, or San Diego: If you’re considering one of these teams, first ask yourself: “Am I in a 32-team league?” If the answer to that question is “no,” then you can forget these four even exist this week.

Green Bay are an intriguing choice. On the surface it seems like a fairly good matchup at home, but the numbers do not bear that out. Quiz time! Do you know which team gave the ball away the fewest times last year? Washington, with just 14 turnovers. Eight interceptions, six fumbles. With their ability to run up the score in a hurry, you really need to be desperate to reach for Green Bay here. You can comfortably drop them in most leagues to stream off the wire. Expect the Packers to win big at home, but not their D/ST.

Houston present an incredible opportunity for value, and one of the weeks where drafting a stud D/ST should really pay off. Tennessee, for their part, played a very clean game by the stats week 1; however, even if Tennessee have cleaned up their act (they conceded a whopping 10.3 points against to opposing D/STs last year!), there’s still a ton of room for Houston to completely destroy Jake Locker. I won’t often cite numbers like these, but I think it helps illustrate the point: in the two games last year against Tennessee, Houston D/ST tallied 5 fumbles forced, 5 interceptions, 2 touchdowns, and scored 20+ points for owners each game.

Wait a second. Some of those projections look different than earlier. What gives?

One of our primary input variables are the Vegas lines, and the line on a game does sometimes change throughout the week. Oakland and Atlanta are the only two teams to change their original ranking, but many of the teams’ projected scores have been adjusted up or down slightly with the new data.

What to do about those Panthers?

It’s seemed like more questions have been posed this week about Carolina than any other team, especially with regard to Miami and Atlanta. What do I think about Carolina?

In short, I have no idea yet.

Last year, the Panthers (97 points) were on the same level of yuck as Miami (102) and Atlanta (98). Most people seem to agree that they look improved this year, but we have only 1 real game of data to go by. Remember, we don’t care how good of a defense the Carolina Panthers have: We care about how many points the Carolina D/ST will score. Their D/ST was not particularly impressive in week 1. It was not particularly impressive in 2012.

I see no reason to favor Carolina in the abstract over Miami or Atlanta.

That leaves their respective opponents this week to consider – Buffalo, Indianapolis, and St. Louis. Buffalo were very slightly more positive to face than either the Colts or the Rams last year for opposing D/STs, but the difference was less than a single point, and certainly not enough to offset Carolina being on the road. Personally, there are too many unknowns with the Panthers for at least another week or two, and the whole point of this exercise is to model scoring with math, not our eyes. I’m passing.

Poor old Oakland

Just when the Raiders were getting their chance to shine (and they may still yet!) against Jacksonville, Blaine Gabbert went and got himself replaced by Chad Henne. It’s probably a good move for the Jaguars, and it’s not great news for Oakland D/ST. However, if you want/need to gamble on upside, the Jaguars should present you with quite a few redraws to work with. I think they’re probably a fine play this week, and they’re my preference over my own team’s other choices of Kansas City, St. Louis, Atlanta, or Carolina.

The one potential pitfall? The Raiders D/ST scored just 37 points last year (though they did tally 9+ four times in 2012). Here’s hoping someone drops their D/ST tonight!

Best of luck this week!


@dtlerch on Twitter

/u/quickonthedrawl on Reddit

t4blog at gmail dot com

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  1. Pingback: Defense Wins Championships, Week 2 - Nerdball Magazine

  2. Aaron

    September 12, 2013 at 12:02 am

    I stream D/st in almost every league I am going try using your rankings as my guide all season and see how it plays out, so far so good. Running out Miami and Rams in lots of leagues this week. Fingers crossed

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