I am writing NFL Division Previews for FOX Sports / Outkick the Coverage. I will link to each article below:
Warren Sharp of SharpFootballAnalysis.com is joined by Evan Silva of Rotoworld.com to discuss the top nuggets and interesting tidbits they found during their months of research building to the 2016 NFL season. Topics include:
– Seattle’s offensive build
– Arizona’s David Johnson & how to fix the biggest issue with the Cardinals offense
– Green Bay’s potential in 2016
– The interesting roster builds of the 2016 Bears and Giants
– Carolina’s true strength in 2015 and how it projects in 2016
– Two RB situations that are marginally discussed but could offer HUGE upside based on likely changed play volume which would be a significant change from 2015.
– Chip Kelly’s potential in San Francisco
Available on iTunes or YouTube.
It can be helpful to visualize opponent strengths by week. Below is a sampling of some visualized schedule related analysis which will be updated in-season over at the new SharpFootballStats.com website once it gets up and running.
These are based on final 2015 ranks. Obviously that is key, because it is not a prediction of what the team may be in 2016. But this is a guide and you can adjust the output based on whether you believe the opponents are going to perform better or worse in 2016.
The first visualization allows you to sort by team and by the metric you want to analyze to see a weekly schedule. If an opponent is listed with green bars, it means the opponent is weak (ranked poorly) in the metric selected, so the team has it easier. If the opponent is listed with red bars, it means the opponent is strong (ranked well) in the metric selected, so the team you are analyzing has it hard that week. Next to the axis is the actual rank (1-32) of that opponent using their 2015 final ranking in the selected metric.
The second visualization allows you to select the time span (in weeks) you wish to analyze, and you can see strength of schedule during that span for the opponent’s defenses (on avg). The third visualization allows you to do the same but looking at the opponent’s offenses.
In all cases, the results depict the opponent’s rank (or avg rank). Thus, if you are looking at how easy a team has it on offense to start the season, you would want to look at the opponent’s defensive metrics. If specifically want to see how easy a QB has it to start the season, you would want to look at the defensive passing metrics.
A few examples to illustrate the usefulness of this page:
To the right, you can visualize the slate of opponent defenses in 2016 for the Raiders by week (top graphic). As you can see, the start of the schedule looks very juicy if teams are not substantially improved from 2015. Sure enough, over the course of the first 8 weeks of the season (bottom graphic) you can see the Raiders play the easiest slate of opposing pass defenses from 2015. But after that week 8 game, the Raiders have a bye and a number of very strong pass defenses. He could be a sell high candidate at that point in the season.
The Redskins face the 3rd easiest slate of pass defenses from 2015 to start the season, through the first 5 weeks. But like Derek Carr above, from week 8 onward that schedule gets significantly more difficult unless some of the pass defenses regress from their 2015 form. The silver lining is that many of those solid pass defenses also have very good offenses (ARI, CAR, GB, CIN), so Cousins will likely be forced to continue to pass the football to keep up on the scoreboard. In fact, if you look at the EDSR offensive Efficiency of the Redskins 2016 opponents, they face the toughest schedule based on 2015 final rankings. Indicating Cousins may be under pressure to keep pace with some very strong offenses.
The Bills face the most daunting schedule of opposing run defenses over the course of the 2016 season (based on 2015 stats). But the start of the schedule is absolutely brutal. Those first 5 weeks should be extraordinary difficult. However, if you are a DFS player, you may see solid value weeks 6 and 7 of the season, unless the 49ers and Dolphins run defenses are significantly improved in 2016. And the tail end of the season is much better for the Bills rushing offense prospects.