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10/1/2016
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The 2005 NFL Schedule:Hot Spots, Your Roadmap to Success by Greg Alan4for4

The 2006 NFL Schedule:
Your Roadmap to Success
 by Greg Alan
4for4.com

 

Each season a number of NFL scheduling oddities appear. The 2006 season is no exception. If you're a serious Fantasy Football owner, you'll want to consider every edge possible -- including scheduling anomalies.

Learn how to use "Hot Spots" to target waiver wire pickups, craftily time trades and optimize your roster for the playoffs.

In this article, 4for4.com’s Greg Alan breaks down the 2006 NFL schedule. You’ll find vital tactics that can positively change your outlook and lead to big results.


Folks, to win your league championship, you must get hot at the end of the season!
 

All your research during the summer will fail to net a championship if you run out of gas during your Fantasy playoffs.

LESS EFFORT + MORE RESULTS = A MUST DO
Many Fantasy strategies and tactics often require tons of preparation and often result in rather minimal gain. However, leveraging “Hot Spots” requires little time and often yields a big upshot. Sound good? Buckle up and let’s dig in. ...

In truth, having just one or two favorable add-on scheduling matchups during your playoffs is often all it takes to gain an edge -- and walk off with a championship.

In this article, I make a case for the phrase "Timing is Everything." Keep that theme in mind this season. If you wisely leverage the NFL schedule, you'll be able to cleverly time trades, artfully target waiver wire pickups and most importantly, optimize your roster for the playoffs.

Even if your draft doesn't go well, by leveraging "Hot Spots" you'll be turning negatives into positives and strengthening your team.

We’ll start out with some traditional Strength of Schedule (SOS) research. In addition, I'll offer up a few observations. 

I'll also share the initial 4for4.com 2006 Defense Team rankings. We'll integrate these rankings into the 2006 NFL schedule. Then, we'll build a roadmap and flag some "Hot Spots." We'll pay particular attention to the final few weeks of the NFL regular season -- Fantasy Football playoff time.

 

In addition, we’ll review the 4for4.com Team Defense “Hot Spots” -- a great time saver in helping plan out your Team Defensive starts.

But, before we dig in, I need to get everyone on board and talk about how important the NFL schedule is when it comes to winning your Fantasy Football Championship.

Case Study No. 1 -- Chris
Schussman wins big in WCOFF
In WCOFF’s first season, despite drafting Vinny Testaverde and Shane Matthews as his starting QBs and fielding a draft day roster that claimed Rod Gardner as a No. 1 receiver, the WCOFF league champion, Mr. Chris
Schussman, walked away with a cool $200,000 grand prize. How did he do it? Plain and simple, he got red hot in the playoffs starting in Week 13. As it turns out, each of his first three draft picks had green (good) "Hot Spots" in the WCOFF playoffs. All three of his top picks delivered when it counted the most and Chris walked away a huge WCOFF winner!

Case Study No. 2 -– Greg Alan goes 53-0!
That same year, I competed in an 11-team private Fantasy league. In this auction/draft league I faced long time rivals, several of whom I consider to be among the strongest Fantasy Football players in the world. Because I built my roster around the 4for4.com "Hot Spots" I was literally unstoppable after midseason. In fact, I was the highest scoring team six weeks in a row! As a result, coming down the stretch I posted a head-to-head record of 53-0, dominated the playoffs and walked off with another championship.

Case Study No. 3 -– Jim McVicar plans and wins FFTOC
The first FFTOC Champion, Jim McVicar, summed it up this way, “
I started working on (and planning out) my lineups for last year in May just as I have this year. ... I really can’t wait for this season to begin.” Turns out, Jim saved and planned to use a number of studs in the final week of the FFTOC playoffs. All those players had easy matchups, giving McVicar the points he needed to win the FFTOC Online Championship title.

After all the draft-day strategy, all the player evaluations and preseason analysis, the fact remains -- if you want to win a big-time national contest like WCOFF or the FFTOC you need to get hot at the end of the season. If you don't get hot at the end, your chances of winning it all are slim. The same is true in most local leagues -- you must finish strong.

Next, I'll address specifics about the 2006 NFL season. I'll focus on actionable tips and things you can use. 

Strength of Schedule (SOS)
To kick things off, we'll start by examining opponents' win-loss records from the prior season. As is the case with much SOS data, you'll want to use caution and good reasoning, especially if your SOS analysis completely hinges on performance from last year.

I'd strongly suggest you steer clear of fragmented stats derived solely from last year's data. As much as I love analysis, Fantasy managers that drill down into measures like "Yardage Allowed to a TE" and "Opponent's Red-zone FG accuracy" often miss the big picture. These studies often lack predictive rigor. Measures like "Yardage Allowed to an Opposing No. 3 WR" rarely hold up from year-to-year.

Rather than generate a stack of metrics based on last year's data, the trick is to look for significant outliers and shifts from the prior season. That’s exactly what Table I does for us.

Table I -
2006 Strength of Schedule
(ranking on change from 2005 to 2006)

 

Rank
(schedule going
easier to harder)

Team

%Change from 2005 to 2006

2006 Opponents
Prior to Season

2005 Opponents
Prior to Season

2004 Opponents
Prior to Season 

2003 Opponents
Prior to Season

1

MIA

-0.078

0.469

0.547

0.531

0.516

2

NYJ

-0.07

0.465

0.535

0.512

0.541

3

NE

-0.066

0.473

0.539

0.512

0.527

4

SD

-0.055

0.488

0.543

0.506

0.486

5

BUF

-0.054

0.477

0.531

0.512

0.504

6

GB

-0.047

0.449

0.496

0.508

0.449

7

CHI

-0.035

0.445

0.48

0.496

0.48

8

MIN

-0.023

0.457

0.48

0.496

0.478

9

IND

-0.02

0.484

0.504

0.508

0.518

10

JAX

-0.016

0.488

0.504

0.516

0.537

11

DET

-0.015

0.473

0.488

0.492

0.473

12

CLE

-0.015

0.512

0.527

0.488

0.48

13

OAK

-0.011

0.516

0.527

0.512

0.482

14

KC

-0.008

0.527

0.535

0.488

0.475

15

BAL

-0.008

0.523

0.531

0.508

0.48

16

DEN

-0.007

0.516

0.523

0.49

0.494

17

SEA

0.0

0.457

0.457

0.516

0.443

18

SF

0.006

0.477

0.471

0.512

0.451

19

ATL

0.008

0.508

0.5

0.488

0.523

20

CAR

0.012

0.504

0.492

0.492

0.524

21

HOU

0.019

0.523

0.504

0.51

0.533

22

CIN

0.02

0.543

0.523

0.508

0.508

23

PIT

0.023

0.531

0.508

0.476

0.473

24

DAL

0.027

0.504

0.477

0.469

0.541

25

TEN

0.035

0.527

0.492

0.486

0.524

26

NO

0.047

0.539

0.492

0.504

0.52

27

TB

0.047

0.539

0.492

0.484

0.539

28

WAS

0.051

0.516

0.465

0.492

0.537

29

ARI

0.051

0.5

0.449

0.523

0.443

30

NYG

0.055

0.543

0.488

0.48

0.522

31

STL

0.063

0.508

0.445

0.512

0.457

32

PHI

0.067

0.52

0.453

0.472

0.541

 

 

A few things to keep in mind as you examine Table I. ...

* If you liked the Dolphins’ offense last year, you'll enjoy the 2006 season. Miami looks to benefit from their 2006 schedule as long as they keep their offensive momentum going and they stay healthy. Ronnie Brown will face plenty of teams that can’t stop the run. Compared to their opponents in 2005, Miami has a much easier schedule this year. Also keep in mind the Dolphins ended the 2005 season winning their last six games in a row. It’s hard not to be impressed with what the Dolphins’ new coach Nick Saban has done in just one year.

* The Packers’ offense might do better than some might think. The schedule makers certainly did their part. Green Bay’s schedule looks much easier in 2006 than it was last year (44 percent vs. 50 percent). In fact, outside of Weeks 1 and 17 (against the Bears), the Packers have plenty of good matchups. Coming down the stretch in your Fantasy season Green Bay faces the Lions, Jets and 49ers!

* In part, as a result of winning the Super Bowl last year, the Steelers will face their toughest schedule in four years. Prior to 2005, the Steelers always seemed to enjoy a major scheduling advantage. Not this year. Week 15 is always a critical week for Fantasy managers, and that week the Steelers face Carolina. And in Week 16 they play the Ravens. Both the Ravens and Panthers look to have above average defenses in 2006. If you have Steeler players and they are doing well, the time to trade them is after Week 11. From that point on, their defensive schedule gets harder.

* Due to a very disappointing performance in 2005, the Bills have an easier schedule in 2006. Willis McGahee and Company will battle foes with a 47 percent win rate. Last year, entering the season, Buffalo faced teams with a 53 percent win rate. In Week 16, with many FF Super Bowls hanging in the balance, McGahee and Lee Evans face the Titans.

* In a case of the rich getting richer, things look very promising for Colts offense.  Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison will work their magic against the easiest schedule they have seen in four years! In Week 16 the Colts face their easiest defensive foe all year -- the Texans. It doesn’t get much easier than that, and it hardly seems fair. I’ll have more on Peyton Manning later in the article. You won’t want to miss it.

* The Patriots have no excuses. They have a much easier schedule in 2006. In fact, they have the third most favorable shift in schedule difficulty in the entire league. Outside of Weeks 9 and 12, good matchups will be had as New England faces the Bills, Jets, Packers, Lions, Titans and Texans in 2006. That should spell big Fantasy points for Tom Brady and the New England ground game.

* Despite a losing season in 2005, the Eagles’ schedule actually gets much harder in 2006. Thanks to the competitive NFC-East, Philly has the most unfavorable shift in schedule difficulty in the entire league. At the start of last season the guys from South Philly faced teams with a combined winning record for 45 percent. This year it’s up to 52 percent. The Giants are in the same boat -– the Blue team from New Jersey plays their hardest schedule in four years.


* The Chargers should be able to pile on Fantasy points the first two weeks facing the Titans and Raiders. In addition, a few weeks later they get the porous 49ers and then the Rams! If you own Phillip Rivers and he’s really kicking it after Week 9, consider trading him and demand plenty in return. You might be able to pull a classic sell-high move.

*
On the flip side, look at those Titans. They just can’t catch a break. Their schedule actually gets harder in 2006. Over a three-week period they face Indy, Washington and Dallas. 4for4.com has all three of those team defenses ranked in the top 8 this season.  Adding insult to injury, the Titans also face the always-rugged Ravens a few weeks later.

* The Cleveland Browns have plenty of reason to gripe about their luck! If losing Kellen Winslow to injury in 2004 and 2005 wasn’t bad enough, the 2006 Browns’ schedule gets brutal towards season’s end. Fantasy owners should take note -- starting in Week 14 the Browns face Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Tampa Bay! If any Cleveland players come out of the gate strong, be sure to trade them away for quality talent before Week 14.


Against the Run / Against the Pass
Examining the 2006 Schedule using an opponent's record from the prior year gives you a reasonable idea of schedule difficulty. Sure, it’s far from perfect, still it offers you a "vaguely right" approach.

Ideally, for Fantasy Football purposes, we'd like to objectively segment defensive team pass and rush performance. Then, everything else being equal, forecast passing and rushing using last year's data. The problem is, in going from last year to this year, everything else isn't equal.

If you segment last year’s defensive pass and defensive rush performance and follow it blindly, you face the very real risk of being "precisely wrong." All that being said, year-to-year pass/rush data does offer a modest level of predictive accuracy. Given that, next up I offer up a few more observations.

* In this space in 2004, I identified the Colts as the team having the easiest pass defense schedule. I said, “Peyton Manning owners could really be loving life if this data holds up.” Well, Peyton Manning took full advantage and broke many of Dan Marino’s single-season records. Guess what? This season, the Colts again have the distinction of facing the easiest pass defense schedule in the entire NFL. Peyton Manning owners are you listening? On paper it looks like another ultra-elite Fantasy season for Manning. Wow!

* Presumably it’s DeShaun Foster or perhaps rookie DeAngelo Williams, but regardless of who it is, the RB that gets the bulk of carries in Carolina this year could turn out to be very special. The Panthers have one of the easiest schedules when it comes to opposing run defense. On the flip side, they face decent pass defenses. Again more good news for Foster and Williams as that plays right into Coach John Fox’s offensive scheme –- run the ball. 

* Seattle arguably had the best rushing attack in the NFL last year. In 2006, the rich could get richer. According to last year's data, Shaun Alexander and the Seahawks face the softest run defense schedule in the entire NFL.

* If Arizona head Coach Denny Green can keep his offense on track and build from last year’s success, Kurt Warner, Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald could put up huge numbers in 2006. The Cardinals face the second easiest pass defense in the entire NFL. Add Edge James into the backfield and things look very promising. If Warner gets hurt and rookie QB Matt Leinart is forced to step in late, he could be a huge factor -- the Cardinals face the 49ers in Week 16!


* We all know the Browns want to run the ball. But on paper they face the most difficult NFL run defense schedule in 2006. Making matters worse for Fantasy managers holding Cleveland RBs, Weeks 13 to 16 look particularly hard for the Browns. All this could make veteran WR Joe Jurevicius a decent late round gamble as the Browns may be forced to pass more than they would like.

* Using last year's data and this year's schedule, the Bengals, Browns, Raiders, Jets and Texans may have the biggest challenge running the ball. While prior year rush defense offers some forecasting validity, obviously don't count out Rudi Johnson. He’s done reasonably well against rugged defensive schedules before.

* Last year's data suggests the Seahawks, Chiefs and Rams have an easy 2006 schedule when it comes to passing. Not far behind, the Cowboys. In turn, Drew Bledsoe could once again make for an excellent late round value pick, especially now that he has Terrell Owens as a go-to target.

* Brad Johnson isn't going to be catching any breaks early this season due to an easy schedule. Using 2005 stats, the Vikings, will be facing the second-best cumulative pass defense this year. Likewise, based on schedule, Brett Favre and the Packers will also have their work cut out for them moving the ball in the air.

* Mike Martz, the Lions’ new offensive coordinator, better be as good as he thinks he is. On paper, Lion newcomers (Martz, QBs Jon Kitna and Josh McCown) will be facing the best cumulative pass defense this year in the NFL.

* Aaron Brooks has a long history of breaking Fantasy manager’s hearts, but he could finally live up to expectations this year. First, he’s flying under the radar as most have soured on him. Second, he’s surrounded by four talented wide receivers including Randy Moss. Third, the Raiders face one of the easiest pass defense schedules in the league this year. In fact, on paper, only the Colts and Cardinals have an easier schedule against the pass.

* Larry Johnson managers should be happy about KC’s schedule. The Chiefs’ opposing rush defense is among the easiest 20 percent in the NFL. The fact KC plays against the Raiders in critical Week 16 doesn’t hurt those managers trying to nail down a championship that weekend. Last year Johnson gained 148-yards rushing and scored three TDs on only 31 rushing attempts against Oakland.


Table II– Using 2005 Data to Estimate 2006 Pass/Run Schedule Difficulty

Against the Pass 
(Ranked Easiest to Hardest)

Rank

Team

Avg. Ranked Pass Def. Opponent

1

IND

21

2

ARI

20.4

3

OAK

19.8

4

SEA

19.5

5

KC

18.9

6

STL

18.8

7

HOU

18.8

8

DEN

18.6

9

JAX

18.4

10

DAL

18.4

11

WAS

18.2

12

NYJ

18.1

13

NYG

18

14

TEN

18

15

BUF

17.8

16

SD

17.8

17

PHI

17.1

18

PIT

17

19

SF

16.4

20

CLE

16.3

21

MIA

15.9

22

BAL

14.8

23

CIN

14.5

24

NE

14.2

25

TB

13.9

26

NO

13.7

27

CHI

13.6

28

ATL

13

29

CAR

12.4

30

GB

12.4

31

MIN

11.5

32

DET

10.8

 

Against the Run 
(Ranked Easiest to Hardest)

Rank

Team

Avg. Ranked
Run Def. Opponent

1

SEA

20.7

2

CAR

19.6

3

TB

19.4

4

MIA

18.5

5

JAX

17.9

6

KC

17.6

7

NYG

17.5

8

NE

17.4

9

CHI

17.3

10

BUF

17.3

11

STL

17.1

12

NO

17.1

13

ARI

16.7

14

TEN

16.6

15

PHI

16.6

16

DAL

16.2

17

SF

16

18

MIN

16

19

IND

15.9

20

BAL

15.9

21

DEN

15.7

22

ATL

15.5

23

SD

15.4

24

PIT

15.4

25

DET

15.3

26

WAS

15

27

GB

15

28

HOU

14.8

29

NYJ

14.7

30

OAK

14.6

31

CIN

14.6

32

CLE

14.5

 

 

Table III – 4for4.com’s Exclusive Early Season
2006 Team Defense Rankings

Rank

Team Defense

Rank

Team Defense

#1

Bears

#17

Falcons

#2

Steelers

#18

Vikings

#3

Panthers

#19

Chargers

#4

Colts

#20

Cardinals

#5

Redskins

#21

Chiefs

#6

Ravens

#22

Bills

#7

Seahawks

#23

Browns

#8

Cowboys

#24

Lions

#9

Bucs

#25

Jets

#10

Broncos

#26

Rams

#11

Patriots

#27

Saints

#12

Eagles

#28

Packers

#13

Jaguars

#29

Titans

#14

Dolphins

#30

Raiders

#15

Giants

#31

Texans

#16

Bengals

#32

49ers

 

Next, we substitute opponent name with their defensive rank in the 2006 schedule. To complete the "Hot Spots" chart, we color-code the areas of opportunity in green and flag the more difficult areas in red.

As you examine the "Hot Spot" chart in Table IV, keep in mind the larger the number, the easier the opponent's defense. I like to think of the "Hot Spots" as a roadmap -- I use it to steer away from the "red" and into the "green."

 

Table IV
2006 NFL Schedule
Exclusive 4for4.com “Hot Spots”

 

 

W1

W2

W3

W4

W5

W6

W7

W8

W9

W10

W11

W12

W13

W14

W15

W16

W17

ARI

32

7

26

17

21

1

30

28

bye

8

24

18

26

7

10

32

19

ATL

3

9

27

20

bye

15

2

16

24

23

6

27

5

9

8

3

12

BAL

9

30

23

19

10

3

bye

27

16

29

17

2

16

21

23

2

22

BUF

11

14

25

18

1

24

11

bye

28

4

31

13

19

25

14

29

6

CAR

17

18

9

27

23

6

16

8

bye

9

26

5

12

15

2

17

27

CHI

28

24

18

7

22

20

bye

32

14

15

25

11

18

26

9

24

28

CIN

21

23

2

11

bye

9

3

17

6

19

27

23

6

30

4

10

2

CLE

27

16

6

30

3

bye

10

25

19

17

2

16

21

2

6

9

31

DAL

13

5

bye

29

12

31

15

3

5

20

4

9

15

27

17

12

24

DEN

26

21

11

bye

6

30

23

4

2

30

19

21

7

19

20

16

32

DET

7

1

28

26

18

22

25

bye

17

32

20

14

11

18

28

1

8

GB

1

27

24

12

26

bye

14

20

22

18

11

7

25

32

24

18

1

HOU

12

4

5

14

bye

8

13

29

15

13

22

25

30

29

11

4

23

IND

15

31

13

25

29

bye

5

10

11

22

8

12

29

13

16

31

14

JAX

8

2

4

5

25

bye

31

12

29

31

15

22

14

4

29

11

21

KC

16

10

bye

32

20

2

19

7

26

14

30

10

23

6

19

30

13

MIA

2

22

29

31

11

25

28

bye

1

21

18

24

13

11

22

25

4

MIN

5

3

1

22

24

bye

7

11

32

28

14

20

1

24

25

28

26

NE

22

25

10

16

14

bye

22

18

4

25

28

1

24

14

31

13

29

NO

23

28

17

3

9

12

bye

6

9

2

16

17

32

8

5

15

3

NYG

4

12

7

bye

5

17

8

9

31

1

13

29

8

3

12

27

5

NYJ

29

11

22

4

13

14

24

23

bye

11

1

31

28

22

18

14

30

OAK

19

6

bye

23

32

10

20

2

7

10

21

19

31

16

26

21

25

PHI

31

15

32

28

8

27

9

13

bye

5

29

4

3

5

15

8

17

PIT

14

13

16

bye

19

21

17

30

10

27

23

6

9

23

3

6

16

SD

30

29

bye

6

2

32

21

26

23

16

10

30

22

10

21

7

20

SEA

24

20

15

1

bye

26

18

21

30

26

32

28

10

20

32

19

9

SF

20

26

12

21

30

19

bye

1

18

24

7

26

27

28

7

20

10

STL

10

32

20

24

28

7

bye

19

21

7

3

32

20

1

30

5

18

TB

6

17

3

bye

27

16

12

15

27

3

5

8

2

17

1

23

7

TEN

25

19

14

8

4

5

bye

31

13

6

12

15

4

31

13

22

11

WAS

18

8

31

13

15

29

4

bye

8

12

9

3

17

12

27

26

15

 

W1

W2

W3

W4

W5

W6

W7

W8

W9

W10

W11

W12

W13

W14

W15

W16

W17

 

 

Red= Difficult Schedule

  

Green= Favorable Schedule

 

"Hot Spot" observations from Greg Alan. ...


* In what can only be described as a Fantasy gift from the NFL, the Bears’ schedule looks like Fantasy gold. In Week 4 they face a reasonably challenging Seahawks defense. But, before or after that, the Bears never play a 4for4.com Top-8 ranked defensive team the entire regular season! No other NFL team is this fortunate. The trick is loading up on Bears running backs and not over paying. As a Fantasy manager make sure your team takes full advantage here. This truly is a scheduling oddity.

* The Rams have had a good offense for years. Even without Dick Vermeil, an MVP-like Warner and a youthful Marshall Faulk, they should be able to move the ball this year. However, be careful late in the season. In Week 14 they play the Bears. In Week 16, they battle the Redskins. If your team is loaded up with Rams you could be in big trouble come Fantasy playoff time.

* The Jaguars’ offense faces a very difficult schedule of the first month of the season. Without Jimmy Smith (retired) at wide receiver the road gets even more difficult. On the plus side, Jacksonville players may be highly undervalued come Week 5. And, that’s exactly the time you might won’t to buy low! In the next five games they’ll get to play the Texans twice, the Jets once and the Titans once. And, in critical Week 15 they’ll face the Titans yet again. The wise owners will leverage this scheduling imbalance.

* In a similar fashion, the Vikings’ offense could really struggled early in the year. The team opens the season against Washington, Carolina and the Bears. That might be the hardest three-game window any offense will face this year. After three games with little Fantasy production, owners with key Viking players may panic. If they do, it’s your chance to clean up and make some great value moves in the process.

* A healthy Donovan McNabb should come out of the gate strong in 2006. The Eagles face the Texans, Packers and 49ers in the first month of the season. On paper, it doesn’t get an easier. However, beware -- Weeks 12, 13 and 14 -- the Eagles’ offense is likely going to hit a brick wall when they face the Colts, Panthers and Redskins -- all three of those defensive teams are ranked in the top 5 according to 4for4.com’s early 2006 season review.

* If Cadillac Williams is ripping up the league by midseason and you can get tons of value for him, trade him. Come your Fantasy Playoffs, the Bucs’ offense won't be doing you any favors. Tampa faces the Steelers in Week 13 and the Bears potentially dominating defense in Week 15.

* Overall, the Redskins’ offense might not set the world on fire this year. But, check out Washington’s schedule when it really counts. ... In Weeks 15 and 16. The Skins face the Saints and Rams. It doesn't take much imagination to see how a healthy Clinton Portis could be ramping up late in the season and helping you win your playoffs.

* The Steelers’ offense will face a difficult schedule during Fantasy playoff time. In Week 15 they get Carolina and the following week the Ravens.

* If Week 16 is your Super Bowl, be sure you have a piece of the Cardinals, Colts and Chiefs. Aside from having awesome looking offenses this year, they all face three of the worst defensive teams in the NFL -- the 49ers, Texans and Raiders – come Week 16. For FFTOC-style Fantasy Football managers, it doesn’t get any better than this.

* Over the last four weeks of the season the Broncos do not face a single team ranked among 4for4.com's Top-15 defensive units. Once again, you’ll want to have Denver running backs available for your final push. 

* Also, the same can be said for the Vikings. In the last month of the regular season the best defense they’ll face is the Lions – a team 4for4.com ranks 24th best (out of 32). Nice!

As you can see, there's almost no end to how you can leverage "Hot Spots" to increase your odds of winning. Some of my favorite ways are listed in Table V.

Table V -- Ways to Leverage 4for4.com "Hot Spots" to Your Advantage
1) Prudent long-term roster planning
2) Craftily time trades
3) Target waiver wire pickups
4) Optimize your roster for the playoffs
5) Develop a week-to-week game plan in advance



Don’t Ignore Your Team Defense

Next, I’d like to offer some material to help you with your team defense starts. With a little planning you can gain a huge edge, even if you don’t draft an elite NFL defense.

I can’t say this enough: if you want an edge, start planning out what team defenses you should start each week. This will help you during your draft and during the long NFL season.

So why don’t more FF managers plan out which team defenses to use?

Answer: It can often be a very time consuming task when done from scratch. That’s why 4for4.com created Tables VI and VII. By consulting these charts, you can quickly gain insights.

For example, most agree the Bears look to have an excellent defense. But you might not want to start them in Week 4 against the high-powered Seahawks’ offense. So, if you draft the Bears as your No. 1 defense, you’d like your No. 2 defense to have a decent matchup in Week 4. In this case you might take the Chiefs as a companion defense to the Bears -- in Week 4 KC gets to tee off against the lowly 49ers offense.

Combination Platter

Team combinations are my favorite way to use the 4for4.com Team Defense Hot Spots.

Example: I want two team defenses that will help get me off to a great start. However, I don’t want to pay dearly for my defensive teams (e.g. Bears).

With that goal in mind, after a few minutes consulting Table VI, I quickly see how combining the Patriots and Vikings will give me four exceptionally attractive starts over the first four weeks of the NFL season! In fact, by combining those middle-tier defensive teams, I actually have a stronger early season defensive roster than the manager that paid a heavy price for the Bears. Plus, by owning the Pats’ and Vikings’ defense, I now look to have a slam dunk matchup in 10 of the 17 weeks -- not bad at all.

Here’s another tip -- to fully optimize your team defense, always examine teams on your roster and on the waiver wire as well when developing your week-to-week look ahead plan.
 

Table VI: 4for4.com Team Defense "Hot Spots"

 

W1

W2

W3

W4

W5

W6

W7

W8

W9

W10

W11

W12

W13

W14

W15

W16

W17

ARI
DEF

32
SF

1
SEA

16
STL

19
ATL

3
KC

29
CHI

17
OAK

20
GB

bye

11
DAL

24
DET

23
MIN

16
STL

1
SEA

5
DEN

32
SF

13
SD

ATL
DEF

8
CAR

22
TB

14
NO

10
ARI

bye

4
NYG

9
PIT

6
CIN

24
DET

31
CLE

25
BAL

14
NO

15
WAS

22
TB

11
DAL

8
CAR

18
PHI

BAL
DEF

22
TB

17
OAK

31
CLE

13
SD

5
DEN

8
CAR

bye

14
NO

6
CIN

26
TEN

19
ATL

9
PIT

6
CIN

3
KC

31
CLE

9
PIT

28
BUF

BUF
DEF

7
NE

12
MIA

30
NYJ

23
MIN

29
CHI

24
DET

7
NE

bye

20
GB

2
IND

27
HOU

21
JAX

13
SD

30
NYJ

12
MIA

26
TEN

25
BAL

CAR
DEF

19
ATL

23
MIN

22
TB

14
NO

31
CLE

25
BAL

6
CIN

11
DAL

bye

22
TB

16
STL

15
WAS

18
PHI

4
NYG

9
PIT

19
ATL

14
NO

CHI
DEF

20
GB

24
DET

23
MIN

1
SEA

28
BUF

10
ARI

bye

32
SF

12
MIA

4
NYG

30
NYJ

7
NE

23
MIN

16
STL

22
TB

24
DET

20
GB

CIN
DEF

3
KC

31
CLE

9
PIT

7
NE

bye

22
TB

8
CAR

19
ATL

25
BAL

13
SD

14
NO

31
CLE

25
BAL

17
OAK

2
IND

5
DEN

9
PIT

CLE
DEF

14
NO

6
CIN

25
BAL

17
OAK

8
CAR

bye

5
DEN

30
NYJ

13
SD

19
ATL

9
PIT

6
CIN

3
KC

9
PIT

25
BAL

22
TB

27
HOU

DAL
DEF

21
JAX

15
WAS

bye

26
TEN

18
PHI

27
HOU

4
NYG

8
CAR

15
WAS

10
ARI

2
IND

22
TB

4
NYG

14
NO

19
ATL

18
PHI

24
DET

DEN
DEF

16
STL

3
KC

7
NE

bye

25
BAL

17
OAK

31
CLE

2
IND

9
PIT

17
OAK

13
SD

3
KC

1
SEA

13
SD

10
ARI

6
CIN

32
SF

DET
DEF

1
SEA

29
CHI

20
GB

16
STL

23
MIN

28
BUF

30
NYJ

bye

19
ATL

32
SF

10
ARI

12
MIA

7
NE

23
MIN

20
GB

29
CHI

11
DAL

GB
DEF

29
CHI

14
NO

24
DET

18
PHI

16
STL

bye

12
MIA

10
ARI

28
BUF

23
MIN

7
NE

1
SEA

30
NYJ

32
SF

24
DET

23
MIN

29
CHI

HOU
DEF

18
PHI

2
IND

15
WAS

12
MIA

bye

11
DAL

21
JAX

26
TEN

4
NYG

21
JAX

28
BUF

30
NYJ

17
OAK

26
TEN

7
NE

2
IND

31
CLE

IND
DEF

4
NYG

27
HOU

21
JAX

30
NYJ

26
TEN

bye

15
WAS

5
DEN

7
NE

28
BUF

11
DAL

18
PHI

26
TEN

21
JAX

6
CIN

27
HOU

12
MIA

JAX
DEF

11
DAL

9
PIT

2
IND

15
WAS

30
NYJ

bye

27
HOU

18
PHI

26
TEN

27
HOU

4
NYG

28
BUF

12
MIA

2
IND

26
TEN

7
NE

3
KC

KC
DEF

6
CIN

5
DEN

bye

32
SF

10
ARI

9
PIT

13
SD

1
SEA

16
STL

12
MIA

17
OAK

5
DEN

31
CLE

25
BAL

13
SD

17
OAK

21
JAX

MIA
DEF

9
PIT

28
BUF

26
TEN

27
HOU

7
NE

30
NYJ

20
GB

bye

29
CHI

3
KC

23
MIN

24
DET

21
JAX

7
NE

28
BUF

30
NYJ

2
IND

MIN
DEF

15
WAS

8
CAR

29
CHI

28
BUF

24
DET

bye

1
SEA

7
NE

32
SF

20
GB

12
MIA

10
ARI

29
CHI

24
DET

30
NYJ

20
GB

16
STL

NE
DEF

28
BUF

30
NYJ

5
DEN

6
CIN

12
MIA

bye

28
BUF

23
MIN

2
IND

30
NYJ

20
GB

29
CHI

24
DET

12
MIA

27
HOU

21
JAX

26
TEN

NO
DEF

31
CLE

20
GB

19
ATL

8
CAR

22
TB

18
PHI

bye

25
BAL

22
TB

9
PIT

6
CIN

19
ATL

32
SF

11
DAL

15
WAS

4
NYG

8
CAR

NYG
DEF

2
IND

18
PHI

1
SEA

bye

15
WAS

19
ATL

11
DAL

22
TB

27
HOU

29
CHI

21
JAX

26
TEN

11
DAL

8
CAR

18
PHI

14
NO

15
WAS

NYJ
DEF

26
TEN

7
NE

28
BUF

2
IND

21
JAX

12
MIA

24
DET

31
CLE

bye

7
NE

29
CHI

27
HOU

20
GB

28
BUF

23
MIN

12
MIA

17
OAK

OAK
DEF

13
SD

25
BAL

bye

31
CLE

32
SF

5
DEN

10
ARI

9
PIT

1
SEA

5
DEN

3
KC

13
SD

27
HOU

6
CIN

16
STL

3
KC

30
NYJ

PHI
DEF

27
HOU

4
NYG

32
SF

20
GB

11
DAL

14
NO

22
TB

21
JAX

bye

15
WAS

26
TEN

2
IND

8
CAR

15
WAS

4
NYG

11
DAL

19
ATL

PIT
DEF

12
MIA

21
JAX

6
CIN

bye

13
SD

3
KC

19
ATL

17
OAK

5
DEN

14
NO

31
CLE

25
BAL

22
TB

31
CLE

8
CAR

25
BAL

6
CIN

SD
DEF

17
OAK

26
TEN

bye

25
BAL

9
PIT

32
SF

3
KC

16
STL

31
CLE

6
CIN

5
DEN

17
OAK

28
BUF

5
DEN

3
KC

1
SEA

10
ARI

SEA
DEF

24
DET

10
ARI

4
NYG

29
CHI

bye

16
STL

23
MIN

3
KC

17
OAK

16
STL

32
SF

20
GB

5
DEN

10
ARI

32
SF

13
SD

22
TB

SF
DEF

10
ARI

16
STL

18
PHI

3
KC

17
OAK

13
SD

bye

29
CHI

23
MIN

24
DET

1
SEA

16
STL

14
NO

20
GB

1
SEA

10
ARI

5
DEN

STL
DEF

5
DEN

32
SF

10
ARI

24
DET

20
GB

1
SEA

bye

13
SD

3
KC

1
SEA

8
CAR

32
SF

10
ARI

29
CHI

17
OAK

15
WAS

23
MIN

TB
DEF

25
BAL

19
ATL

8
CAR

bye

14
NO

6
CIN

18
PHI

4
NYG

14
NO

8
CAR

15
WAS

11
DAL

9
PIT

19
ATL

29
CHI

31
CLE

1
SEA

TEN
DEF

30
NYJ

13
SD

12
MIA

11
DAL

2
IND

15
WAS

bye

27
HOU

21
JAX

25
BAL

18
PHI

4
NYG

2
IND

27
HOU

21
JAX

28
BUF

7
NE

WAS
DEF

23
MIN

11
DAL

27
HOU

21
JAX

4
NYG

26
TEN

2
IND

bye

11
DAL

18
PHI

22
TB

8
CAR

19
ATL

18
PHI

14
NO

16
STL

4
NYG

 

W1

W2

W3

W4

W5

W6

W7

W8

W9

W10

W11

W12

W13

W14

W15

W16

W17

 

 

Red= Difficult Schedule

  

Green= Favorable Schedule

 

 

 

Table VII – 4for4.com 2006 Team Offense Rankings

Rank

Team Offense

Rank

Team Offense

#1

Seattle

#17

Raiders

#2

Colts

#18

Eagles

#3

Chiefs

#19

Falcons

#4

Giants

#20

Packers

#5

Broncos

#21

Jaguars

#6

Bengals

#22

Bucs

#7

Patriots

#23

Vikings

#8

Panthers

#24

Lions

#9

Steelers

#25

Ravens

#10

Cardinals

#26

Titans

#11

Cowboys

#27

Texans

#12

Dolphins

#28

Bills

#13

Chargers

#29

Bears

#14

Saints

#30

Jets

#15

Redskins

#31

Browns

#16

Rams

#32

49ers

 

 

When I was first introduced to Fantasy Football, I had the good fortune of often generating the best regular season record. However, inevitably I'd almost always end up losing in the championship (to a lesser team). Why? My opponent’s team was more optimized for the playoffs.

Nowadays, I'm still able to win a few in the regular season, but by leveraging the "Hot Spots," I'm the one now taking home a disproportionately large share of the championship trophies.

I'm convinced having just one or two extra favorable matchups during the playoffs is often all it takes to gain an edge -- and walk off with a championship. The take is clear -- never underestimate the role of good matchups in the playoffs!

As perceptions change during the 2006 Regular Season, so do the "Hot Spots." Injuries will cast their negative net on some squads, and like clockwork one NFL team will rise up this year and surprise us all -- the Super Bowl winner Patriots-02, Ravens-01 and Rams-00 were all long shots prior to the start of their championship season.

The punch line? As the year progresses, it's wise to examine updated "Hot Spots" and look for new opportunity. For your convenience, all the "Hot Spots" presented here will be updated weekly at 4for4.com during the 2006 NFL Regular Season.

 

 

-----------
Greg Alan is a key contributor at 4for4.com Fantasy Football. 4for4.com is a web site 100% dedicated to helping you win at Fantasy Football. For more work and ideas from Greg visit http://www.4for4.com

 

 

 
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