The Points Don’t Matter

Here’s a fun statistic we haven’t looked at yet: Points For and Points Against. Points For is the total number of points a team has accumulated on the season. Points Against is, predictably, the opposite of that: the total number of points a team’s opponents have earned on the season. This doesn’t mean anything in the grand scheme of things – Points For is a tiebreaker for playoff seeding, but other than that it’s the win-loss record, not the scoreboard, that counts. (It seems to be that, anyway – I’m seeded higher than KING OF TRADES even though he beat me in Week Three, so I know it’s not head-to-head record.) But I’ve been looking at it now that we have ten weeks of data behind us, and it’s told me something interesting, something I’d like to share with all of you.

Team Record Points For Points Against
Team rosellini 8-2 944 815
Team BlueAndGold 7-3 998 953
KING OF TRADES (formerly !!!!! Dream killer!!!) 7-3 971 795
There’s always next year (formerly Team Coleman) 6-4 886 798
Team RAIDER NATION 5-5 896 837
Team FREEDOM 5-5 870 836
MackAttack FiveDeuce 5-5 814 812
Smile$ Julio 5-5 785 764
Team Broncosgirl 4-6 874 945
Batman Foo 3-7 838 959
Simi Valley 12’s 3-7 739 965
Team GooDfoRyoU 2-8 676 812


Notice first that I have the highest Points For of anybody. If you doubt my team or the strength of my players – and really, how could you at this point? – then stop it. By this metric, which again doesn’t actually mean anything but pride, I’m number one in the league.

More interesting to me, however, is that I have the third highest Points Against in the league.

Consider somebody like our old friend DK (who’s calling his team KING OF TRADES now). He has the same record as me, but with a much higher PF/PA differential. He’s scored 971 points to his opponents’ 795, nearly a 200 point difference. That’s an average of a 20 point win every week.

I, on the other hand, have scored an impressive 998 points, but my opponents have put up 953 points against me. I’m squeaking by with an average 5 point win. Now, obviously, we know there have been outliers there – 10 games isn’t enough of a sample size for a real deep statistical analysis – but taken all together, this is what it tells me:

I’ve taken my opponents’ best shot week after week. And I’ve still beaten them.

Remember, I have no control over Points Against me. That’s all my opponents’ lineup. It’s all luck on who I face on any given week. The fact that it’s so high doesn’t mean that I should be doing something different. All I can do is continue to score as many points as I can – and clearly I’m doing that, if my Points For is #1 and my win-loss record is en fuego.

It just means that I’m getting everybody’s A game, and I’m standing up to it. If that’s not dominance then I don’t know what is.

Now, as we talked about in my last post, there’s still room for me to improve. I need to keep streaming defenses, I need to evaluate my kicker situation, and I need to make better choices in the wide receiver area. So how did that go as I put my Week Eleven lineup together?

Tuesday is Waiver Wire Day, and as usual I used my waiver wire pick to spring for a defense for the week. This week’s new member of Team BlueAndGold is the Detroit Lions. I have a soft spot for the Lions. I used to root for them before LA got a team back, when Joseph Fauria was a Lion (after being my favorite Bruin for a while). But I’ve avoided their defense so far because A) they’re only okay, averaging just under 4 points per game, and B) they tend to get into shootout games, which doesn’t lend well to defensive fantasy scoring. In a streaming defense, I’m looking for a low-scoring game, or at least a game where one team is liable to be held to a low score, as defenses earn fantasy points for holding their opponents’ scores low and lose them when they let their opponents score high. And admittedly, I’m a little nervous this week, as it’s possible the Lions get into another shootout here that limits their defense’s scoring opportunities.

Why did I go for it anyway? Because the other way for defenses to rack up scoring is through creating turnovers. And the Lions play Jacksonville this week, who can’t seem to stop turning over the ball. It worked for me when the Texans played them last week, so I have no problem betting on them to be awful again. Remember, the mantra for choosing a streaming defense is somebody okay-ish versus somebody terrible. That’s as exact a description for this matchup as I can think of.

My other add for the week was at the kicker position. I thought about it for a long time, I hemmed and hawed, and I finally pulled the trigger. Caleb Sturgis, kicker for the Philadelphia Eagles, is in, and Mason Crosby is out. This feels risky to me, but I think it’s time. And if it doesn’t work out, then I still have time to keep searching for my man for the playoffs.

As for my wide receivers, I’m working with a different configuration of them this week – fittingly, since last week’s configuration was, shall we say, less than optimal. This week I have A.J. Green – of course, he’s my workhorse stud – and Julian Edelman at my two WR slots. Why does Edelman get the nod? Because his team faces San Francisco this weekend. I expect the Patriots offense to light up the incredibly light-up-able 49ers, and Edelman should be a part of that. I know he hasn’t gone off like I’d hoped he would, but if ever a week was set up for him to be successful, this is it. (I got a couple of trade offers for him this week, which hasn’t happened in a while. Nothing worth considering seriously, but it’s nice to know that other people see his value for this week too.)

Then I have the flex position. This is Frank Gore’s usual home, but since Melvin Gordon is out on bye, he gets promoted to a RB slot. I could play my second TE here, but I hate Kyle Rudolph’s matchup against Arizona; I could play my spare RB here, but I’m not ready to rely on Paul Perkins’s role in the Giants’ offense. So we’re looking at my WRs, and the one I like the most this week, the one who’s earned his opportunity, is Jamison Crowder. He gets to face Green Bay, which should be a very favorable matchup for him. If he performs in my starting roster anything like he’s performed on my bench, he’ll be a great addition.

So we’re set then. Lineup established. Maximum Points For is our goal.

Because judging by past history, I’m going to have to face my opponent’s best shot, and I need to be ready for anything.


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