Wednesday, September 9, 2009


The notion that you should take scheduling into account has come under fire recently, especially by Matthew Berry of ESPN. Now, I'm a big fan of TMR in general but he is dead wrong about this. On his podcast the other day(one of the top rated podcasts on itunes, i am after all, a company man), he quoted someone to the effect of it being arrogant to assume you can predict how a defense will do before the season starts. Maybe that is true, but it is no more arrogant than thinking you can predict how an offense will do, or more specifically, a running back. Predicting how football players and teams preform is what fantasy football is. Sure, you can't predict anything perfectly, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't attempt to predict and utilize the information.

Berry has an example of a defense that was predicted incorrectly before last season(San Diego). Well I can come up with countless examples of running backs who did not live up to fantasy owners expectations. Should we thus throw out informed guesses and draft running backs out of a hat. That is essentially what this line of logic reduces us to. Yes, you will be wrong some of the time about defensive projections, just as you will be wrong some of the time in your quarterback projections. But in a way, you are more like to hit on schedule predictions. After all, going into last year, you would assume that Pittsburgh and Baltimore would be top defenses and that Detroit and Denver would be atrocious. These cases are far more common than the surprises and disappointments.

Even if you couldn't predict defenses at all, and assumed an average schedule for each running back, you could still use scheduling in your assessments. You could look at the likely schedule differentiation from last year. So if someone had an easy schedule last year(Michael Turner), you could assume his schedule would be harder without making any evaluations at all.

Clearly, there is value in schedule assessments. Fantasy football is about making educated guesses. The more information you have, the more accurately you guess. There is no real point in depriving yourself of vital information, unless of course it flies in the face of the pick you made in January and refuse to back down.

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