Week 1 - Off. & Def. Line Comparisons
How does each team's offensive and defensive line compare to their week 1 opponent's line? Are there any teams will a large advantage / disadvantage in the trenches?
Using 2017 data from FootballOutsiders.com (great O- and D-Line info), we can do a quick preview to see which games stick out.
This analysis will help me reason out what is a likely game script. For example, the Lions have a terrible running game, yes a shocker I know (2018, the year of Kerryon!!!... no?... anyone...?... dang it...). Combine a poor run game with a poor pass rush and no Lions lead is safe. They are -6.5 to NYJ (home MNF), since Det cannot hold leads, I would not be betting them and only considering NYJ at this number. I expect the only way Det covers is if Darnold throws a late interception, when he is also in a situation to make it a tight finish.
Note: ALY = Adjusted Line Yards (running the ball), ASR = Adjusted Sack Rate, Definitions from FO; also it worth noting the inherent flaws in using this 2017 data for 2018 purposes, as well as making up my own metrics on top of existing calculations, see the note at the end of this post.
ALY - The Notables
ARI, GB, LARM, NE, and NO are the top five in this comparison, suggesting they may be able to run the ball and effectively hold the lead if their passing game is clicking early. This also bods well for their RBs from a fantasy perspective.
Conversely, Det, Sea, and Was look to not fair well in the run game. Det attempted to bolster their O-line during the offseason but have years of below average run. Sea has had RB and O-line issues since Marshawn left. Finally, Was seemed to be more of short passing team before Chris Thompson's injury but that is worth a later investigation into Was's run game.
ASR - The Notables
JAC, Min, and NO should have time for their passing game, whereas Ari, Cle, GB, and Hou may be frequently under pressure. If these teams get behind, it will be more difficult than usual to catchup. On the GB note, with Chi adding Mack I hope Rodgers' collarbone is healed (not sure what percentage of plays Mack will be involved with, being added to the team only a week before the season).
NO stands out as a team with a high ALY comparison (suggesting they can run the ball) and a low Adj. Sack Rate multiple (suggesting TB won't be able to get to Brees). NO -9.5 is the highest spread on the board and I don't think it is nearly big enough.
What do you think?
This is 2017 data, any coaching / scheme changes and player movement, development, or regression is NOT accounted for. Also, this is a simple difference for comparison purposes, thus mixing weighted rates and assuming base rates / denominators / etc. baked into the calculations are all equal, which they are not.
Regardless, for a quick "who has an advantage" view, I find this quite useful and leads you to dive into learning more (i.e. Don't bet your house on these figures).