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Strength of Schedule Adjusted WR Scores

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by Mike Horn, Staff Writer

Published, 4/30/14

 

Previously this offseason, I have reviewed QB and RBs (standard and PPR scoring) fantasy performance in 2013 after adjusting for their strength of schedule (SoS). In this article, I’m going to apply the same method to last year’s WR fantasy scoring.

 

WR Scoring used: Rushing/Receiving TD = 6 Fantasy Points (FP); 10 Rush/Receiving Yd = 1 FP; Turnovers = minus 1

 

Here are the top 75 WRs. The table includes the actual FP totals and ranks as well as the Strength of Schedule Adjusted (SOSA) FP figures (how this is calculated can be found in the QB article). The final column is a percentage (SOSA PCT) that equals the SOSA FP divided by Actual FP. A SOSA FP of 100% would mean that a player had an exactly average schedule. If the percentage is over 100%, it means he played a harder than average schedule and that his Actual FP may understate how well he played. On the other hand, a percentage less than 100% means a receiver had an easy schedule and his scoring could have been inflated.

Actual vs. Strength of Schedule Adjusted (SOSA) WR Fantasy Points and Ranks

Player

Actual FP

Actual Rk

SOSA FP

SOSA Rk

SOSA PCT

Gordon, Josh

227.4

1

221.9

3

98%

Thomas, Demaryius

227

2

238.3

1

105%

Johnson, Calvin

220.2

3

224.1

2

102%

Green, A.J.

208.6

4

199.9

7

96%

Brown, Antonio

206.5

5

212.4

5

103%

Marshall, Brandon

205.5

6

200.0

6

97%

Bryant, Dez

200.4

7

183.2

9

91%

Jeffery, Alshon

196.6

8

189.4

8

96%

Decker, Eric

193.8

9

215.1

4

111%

Jackson, DeSean

188.4

10

177.7

11

94%

Nelson, Jordy

179.4

11

175.0

12

98%

Johnson, Andre

170.7

12

180.2

10

106%

Garcon, Pierre

165.5

13

149.0

19

90%

Jackson, Vincent

164.4

14

162.5

16

99%

Boldin, Anquan

161

15

168.4

14

105%

Fitzgerald, Larry

155.2

16

166.2

15

107%

Allen, Keenan

151

17

145.9

20

97%

Edelman, Julian

146.7

18

152.7

17

104%

Hilton, T.Y.

138.9

19

172.3

13

124%

Smith, Torrey

138.8

20

141.6

22

102%

Jones, Marvin

138.1

21

134.1

24

97%

Cooper, Riley

137.3

22

128.0

28

93%

Welker, Wes

136.8

23

143.1

21

105%

Floyd, Michael

135.4

24

150.0

18

111%

Wallace, Mike

126.3

25

130.8

25

104%

Hartline, Brian

125.6

26

126.3

30

101%

Colston, Marques

124.3

27

139.5

23

112%

Tate, Golden

122.9

28

128.4

26

104%

Cruz, Victor

122.8

29

114.1

34

93%

Cotchery, Jerricho

120.2

30

127.5

29

106%

Wright, Kendall

119.9

31

125.5

31

105%

Douglas, Harry

116.7

32

128.1

27

110%

Patterson, Cordarrelle

116.7

32

109.4

36

94%

Sanders, Emmanuel

114.5

34

114.2

33

100%

Streater, Rod

113.5

35

111.4

35

98%

Royal, Eddie

112.2

36

106.4

40

95%

Washington, Nate

109.9

37

109.0

37

99%

Baldwin, Doug

108.4

38

117.8

32

109%

Jennings, Greg

104.4

39

96.7

42

93%

Williams, Terrance

104.3

40

96.4

43

92%

Moore, Denarius

99.5

41

92.9

49

93%

Jones, James

98.7

42

91.8

52

93%

Smith, Steve

98.5

43

108.3

38

110%

Bowe, Dwayne

97.3

44

94.8

46

97%

Brown, Marlon

96.4

45

93.8

48

97%

Randle, Rueben

96.1

46

84.4

57

88%

Shorts, Cecil

95.7

47

107.6

39

112%

Stills, Kenny

95.1

48

94.0

47

99%

LaFell, Brandon

94.2

49

96.0

44

102%

Boykin, Jarrett

92.1

50

87.9

54

95%

Austin, Tavon

92

51

92.8

50

101%

Hopkins, DeAndre

91.2

52

103.7

41

114%

Nicks, Hakeem

89.6

53

78.0

59

87%

Ginn Jr., Ted

88.8

54

92.6

51

104%

White, Roddy

88.1

55

95.5

45

108%

Woods, Robert

80.3

56

82.9

58

103%

Johnson, Stevie

79.8

57

88.5

53

111%

Simpson, Jerome

78.6

58

75.7

62

96%

McCluster, Dexter

76.4

59

76.1

61

100%

Dobson, Aaron

75.9

60

85.3

56

112%

Amendola, Danny

75.4

61

85.7

55

114%

Cobb, Randall

75.1

62

75.7

63

101%

Kerley, Jeremy

71.5

63

74.2

65

104%

Avery, Donnie

71.2

64

69.1

68

97%

Thompkins, Kenbrell

70.6

65

72.4

66

103%

Jones, Julio

69.7

66

75.5

64

108%

Underwood, Tiquan

68

67

76.2

60

112%

Wayne, Reggie

64.8

68

68.5

69

106%

Jones, Jacoby

63.9

69

58.3

73

91%

Pettis, Austin

63.9

69

67.4

71

105%

Wright, Jarius

61.4

71

70.4

67

115%

Durham, Kris

60

72

58.2

74

97%

Sanders, Ace

59.64

73

62.4

72

105%

Hunter, Justin

59.4

74

55.1

75

93%

Roberts, Andre

59.1

75

68.4

70

116%

Some observations:

 

  • A total of 13 WRs had their actual FP totals affected by more than 10% by their schedules. Compare that to 18 out of 75 RBs. That could mean that overall RB performance is more affected by SoS than WR scoring, it could be statistical noise, or it’s possible doesn’t capture SoS impact properly.
  • The average WR FP allowed by NFL defenses in a game was 22.3 FP. This includes all FP allowed to all the WRs on an opposing team. The Seahawks had the toughest defense for fantasy WR scoring (14.5 FP/game) and the Eagles had the worst (29.9, over a point a game worse than the Vikings). The Titans were close to the Seahawks, with 14.8 FP/game, then there was a big jump to the Panthers with 16.8.
  • Eric Decker’s 44.7 total in Week Thirteen vs. the Chiefs was the best SOSA FP game. His 41.4 actual FP was also the best real total. The Chief defense as a whole was below average, allowing 23.2 FP/game to WRs. But that is greatly inflated by the three game stretch from Weeks Eleven through Thirteen, when they allowed 37.4 FP/game to the Broncos (two games) and the Chargers. The rest of the year they only gave up 19.9 FP/game to WRs.
  • Decker was 9th in Actual FP but 4th in SOSA FP. His big SOSA boosts came from Week Fourteen vs. the Titans (#2 in FP allowed to WRs) and Week Sixteen vs. the Texans, who were the 3rd-stingiest in allowing WR FP when they weren’t playing the Broncos.
  • T.Y. Hilton had by far the highest SOSA PCT with 124%; no one else topped 115%. That’s because 40% of his Actual FP came against Seattle and Houston, two tough defenses for WR fantasy scoring. Almost three quarters of his SOSA FP boost came from those two games.
  • The biggest change in the Top 10 WRs due to SOSA was Decker’s move from 9th to 4th.
  • A.J. Green slipped the most places within the Top 10 when SoS was factored in, falling from 4th to 7th, but Dez Bryant had the lowest SOSA PCT of the top WRs with 91%.
  • Both the highly regarded Bears WRs, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery were helped a bit by weak schedules (97% and 96%) but it didn’t affect their ranking.
  • DeSean Jackson dropped out of the Top 10 when going from Actual to SOSA FP, but just to 11th.
  • Andre Johnson took Jackson’s spot in the SOSA FP Top 10, up from 12th.
  • Michael Floyd moved into the Top 20 in SOSA FP.
  • The two WRs who benefitted the most from a weak SoS were Hakeem Nicks and Rueben Randle, with SOSA PCTs of 87% and 88%, respectively. Note that is a much larger percentage adjustment than the top two Bears wideouts received, and the only two receivers under 90%.
  • NFC West WRs faced defenses in their own division, the NFC South, and the AFC South. Those were the three divisions with the lowest WR FP allowed. While they will have to face their divisional foes again, they should get easier out-of-division foes in 2014 with the NFC East and the AFC West, two of the three softest divisions for WR FP allowed.
  • Similarly, the AFC East WRs faced a difficult set of 2013 opponents (AFC East and North and NFC South). The AFC West and NFC North look to be easier opponents in the coming season.
  • Meanwhile, NFC East wideouts had it the easiest in 2013 (NFC East and North and AFC West) but have to play the NFC West and AFC South in 2014. At least they still get a relatively easy schedule within their own division.

 

Obviously, it’s somewhat too simple to say that the tough defenses will remain difficult for WR fantasy scoring and the weak ones will again be easy pickings. Still, I think it’s safe to say the NFC West will again have a very good group of defenses.

 

Also, I believe that accounting for WR strength of schedule is trickier than RBs and QBs. To oversimplify, WRs are typically matched up with a single player or two, while QBs and RBs are facing an entire defense. Therefore, looking at defensive team statistics to judge strength of schedule, while it can tell us something about a receiver’s past or future performance, is less revealing for receivers than for quarterbacks or running backs. I think Eric Decker’s SOSA numbers reflect Peyton Manning’s skill at finding and exploiting the weak spot in even good defenses more than the idea that Decker’s FP totals were held down by a tough schedule. SOSA is a starting point for analyzing WR fantasy scoring, but you have to dig deeper into cornerback matchups, how a defense handles opponents’ top WRs, deep threats, possession players, etc. to really understand how SoS affects this position group.

 

 

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