After a one week hiatus, PAVE (Points Allowed Versus Expectation) is back, just in time to help win you a championship. I apologize for leaving a lot of you hanging during the fantasy playoffs, but plenty of you aired your grievances on Twitter already. As I have warned all season, I would not advocate using PAVE as the lone tool from which to make start/sit decisions. If you have been using PAVE all season to aid your decision-making process, I would like to thank you for your trust, and I’ll be rooting for you to win your championship.
In addition to helping with season-long leagues, I imagine there are many people who have been using PAVE to make DFS lineup decisions and exploit match-ups. DFS players are always looking for the best tools to help analyze match-ups and find pricing inefficiencies. I would love to hear from anyone who has been using PAVE for this reason and see if they have found it helpful. I will analyze the usefulness, effectiveness, and predictive ability of PAVE in the offseason, but we have championships to win for now, so here is the update.
Week 16 PAVE
At this point, we have a very good idea of how NFL defenses perform against each position from a fantasy perspective. I prefer to use as much information as possible to form data points, especially when it comes to finding strengths and weaknesses of each defense. For that reason, I am posting the full season table for Points Allowed Versus Expectation (PAVE). I personally prefer to use this table outside of situations with a clear reason to resort to a smaller data set (injuries, coaching changes, etc.).
On Twitter, I have also provided PAVE charts for the last eight weeks, last four weeks, and home/away splits. Use these additional splits at your own discretion to tease out any advantage you can find, but don’t get too caught up in a metric based on four weeks of data.
One Quarterback to Start in Week 16
Derek Carr vs Indianapolis Colts (PAVE of +11%)
My PAVE research has recently evolved into looking at how defenses have performed week-by-week and not solely looking at the overall season’s numbers. I equate this to how the fantasy industry has recently turned its attention to counting top-12 and top-24 performances in order to measure player consistency. We can apply the same logic to defenses and see how often they allow players to perform above and below their season average points per game. Below is the Colts’ weekly chart for opposing quarterbacks.
The Colts have allowed quarterbacks to exceed expectation in 8 out of 14 games, just over half their games. More recently, they have held their last three opposing quarterbacks below expectation. However, those last three passers were Ryan Fitzpatrick/Bryce Petty, Brock Osweiler, and Sam Bradford. These are bad quarterbacks who all average fewer than 13 fantasy points per game.
In the four weeks prior to those games, the Colts allowed each opposing quarterback to exceed expectations, including Alex Smith (12.7 PPG), Aaron Rodgers (22.0 PPG), Marcus Mariota (18.0 PPG), and Ben Roethlisberger (16.7 PPG). Hence, they have recently allowed “good” quarterbacks to exceed their season averages, while holding “bad” quarterbacks below their averages. Derek Carr averages 17.6 PPG and is very much in the NFL MVP conversation. I would feel very good about him starting for my championship team this week.
One Quarterback to Sit in Week 16
Eli Manning @ Philadelphia Eagles (PAVE of -6%)
The Eagles have done a modest job of holding opposing quarterbacks slightly below their expected points with a PAVE of -6% on the season. They have been very different at home versus away this season. Below are the away and home PAVE charts by week.
In away games, the Eagles have allowed 5 of 8 quarterbacks to exceed expectations for a total PAVE of +15%. At home, the Eagles have been stout against quarterbacks, allowing only 1 of 6 quarterbacks to exceed expectations — Aaron Rodgers was +2.7% in Week 12 in Philadelphia. This week, the Eagles play at home against Eli Manning. As these divisional foes are playing for the second time this season, I wouldn’t expect a ton of scoring (Vegas has the over/under at 42). I strongly urge anyone with Eli on their roster to leave him on the bench this week and explore other options.
Thanks for following along with PAVE this year and good luck in your championships and DFS contests. I realize some leagues may not wrap up this week (and you should yell at your commissioner for that), so I will update PAVE once more for Week 17. Happy Festivus or whatever you are celebrating this year.