100 Fantasy Football Tips in 100 Days, Day 42: Capitalizing on Injuries
Today’s tip comes from my book Fantasy Football for Smart People: How to Cash in on the Future of the Game. The book, which I wrote for daily fantasy football players, provides lots of relevant, actionable advice to traditional fantasy owners as well, particularly in the form of in-season projections. This is a section on how to capitalize on injuries during the season:
Regardless of your particular strategy in a given week, the backbone of sound weekly fantasy football strategy is finding underpriced commodities. One of the best opportunities to do that is to target backups who have recently been thrust into the lineup due to an injury. I talked about such a situation with Bryce Brown in 2012.
When an elite running back goes down, though, it’s not a given that his backup will step in and contribute comparable fantasy numbers. You need to determine how much of a running back’s success is due to his own talent and how much is simply because he has a dominant offensive line. This is where advanced analytics come into play; you could look at stats like Football Outsiders’ “Adjusted Line Yards” to see just how good each offensive line really is.
“Adjusted Line Yards” accounts for changes in game situations to appropriately determine the quality of an offensive line in the running game. From the site:
“Teams are ranked according to Adjusted Line Yards. Based on regression analysis, the Adjusted Line Yards formula takes all running back carries and assigns responsibility to the offensive line based on the following percentages:
- Losses: 120% value
- 0-4 Yards: 100% value
- 5-10 Yards: 50% value
- 11+ Yards: 0% value
These numbers are then adjusted based on down, distance, situation, opponent, and the difference in rushing average between Shotgun compared to standard formations. Finally, we normalize the numbers so that the league average for Adjusted Line Yards per carry is the same as the league average for RB yards per carry.”