Carson Wentz
AP
Going Deep

Projecting Plays Per Game and Offensive Pace

Updated On: July 3, 2020, 4:22 am ET

The first layer of building fantasy football projections is figuring out how many plays each team will run and what percentage of their plays will be passes and runs. In this miniseries, I’ll share my personal team projections and lay out my process afterward. Let’s dive in.

 

2020 Projected Plays Per Game

Team

Projection

Change from 2019

Why Change?

1. Eagles

66

-1

 

2. Falcons

65

0

 

2. Cowboys

65

0

 

2. Ravens

65

0

 

5. Buccaneers

64

-1

 

5. Rams

64

-1

 

5. Panthers

64

0

 

8. Patriots

63

-4

NE offense likely to be worse.

8. Bengals

63

0

 

8. Cardinals

63

4

ARI offense likely to be better.

11. Seahawks

62

0

 

11. Lions

62

1

 

11. Bills

62

1

 

14. Colts

61

-1

 

14. Jaguars

61

0

 

14. Bears

61

0

 

14. Giants

61

0

 

14. Dolphins

61

1

 

14. Chiefs

61

2

Assuming Mahomes plays 16 games.

20. Saints

60

-2

NO transitioning away from Brees.

20. Packers

60

-2

GB to run more, likely to be worse.

20. 49ers

60

-1

 

20. Texans

60

-1

 

20. Chargers

60

0

 

20. Raiders

60

0

 

20. Vikings

60

1

 

20. Steelers

60

3

Big Ben returns.

28. Browns

59

1

 

28. Broncos

59

2

DEN offense likely to be better.

30. Jets

58

2

NYJ offense likely to be better.

31. Titans

56

0

 

32. Washington

55

3

WAS offense likely to be better.

 

 

The Process Behind The Projections

NFLPace

 

Although the raw numbers don’t seem big, we can’t underestimate the differences between teams at the bottom and top of the chart. If both the Ravens (1.96 plays per minute) and the Panthers (2.40 plays per minute) had the ball for 30 minutes in a game, then the Panthers would run 13.2 more plays than the Ravens. That’s a big difference for fantasy football. What this chart doesn't account for his how each team does when the scoreboard dictates change. That's next.

 

 

PaceNeutral

 

What teams do in neutral situations is very important because most offensive plays in the NFL are neutral situation, simply because teams are relatively balanced compared to let’s say college football. For fantasy football purposes (and I’d argue real-life purposes as well), it’s better to have players on fast-paced teams. The Chargers (1.81 plays per minute), Washington (1.82 plays per minute) and Jaguars (1.83 plays per minute) were painfully slow last season. Meanwhile, Bill Belichick, Kliff Kingsbury, Sean McVay, and Kellen Moore led fast-paced offenses. Go off kings.

 

 

PaceWinning

 

The Buccaneers (2.35 plays per minute) oddly played at a very fast pace with a 7+ point lead last season, but most of the other teams hovered around 2.0 plays per minute. It’s worth noting that the three fastest-paced teams with 7+ point leads are in the NFC South. Remember to stack those matchups in DFS this season. I also expect the Steelers to not play as slow as they did last season as long as Ben Roethlisberger can stay healthy. In fact, I project the Steelers to average three more offensive plays per game in 2020. That's good news for James Conner, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Diontae Johnson, although all three of them are boom-bust fantasy assets because they're tied to a 38-year-old quarterback coming off major elbow surgery.

 

 

PaceTrailing

 

Every team ran at least 2.0 plays per minute when they were trailing by 7+ points last season. That is no surprise. What was a surprise was the Rams’ numbers when they were chasing points. Their 2.89 plays per minute easily led the NFL and were nearly a full play per minute faster than the slow-paced teams. That’s a credit to coach Sean McVay. If you think the Rams are worse in 2020 than they were last season, then you may be underselling the potential of their passing offense in fantasy. Not only do they play at a faster pace while trailing, but the Rams also led the NFL in pass rate (84%) while trailing last season

 

 

PaceChanges

 

For DFS purposes, this chart is quite important. It shows the difference in offensive pace based on the scoreboard, where a higher score means an offense plays much faster while trailing compared to when they have a lead. Take the Cowboys for example. When they were leading by 7+ points last season, they ran 2.03 offensive plays per minute, which ranked 21st. But when Dallas were trailing by 7+ points, they ran the 2nd most plays per minute (2.72). That huge difference in offensive pace makes the Cowboys must-plays in DFS whenever we expect them to trail.

 

My Fantasy Football Content

1. 2019 Yards Per Carry Plus/Minus Rankings

2. 2019 Rushing Efficiency Rankings

3. 2019 Receiving Efficiency Rankings

4. 2019 Expected Passing TD Rankings

5. 2019 Expected Rushing TD Rankings

6. 2019 Expected Receiving TD Rankings

7. 2019 Big-Play Rushing Rankings

8. 2019 Expected Yards After The Catch Rankings

9. 2019 Deep Target Efficiency Rankings

10. 2019 Expected YPA Rankings

11. 2019 Expected Fantasy Points (WR)

12. 2019 Expected Fantasy Points (TE)

13. Reviewing Late-Season Production - QBs & TEs

14. Reviewing Late-Season Production - RBs & WRs

15. NFL Depth Charts - QB, RB, WR, TE

16. Free Agency Winners and Losers

17. Rookie RB Pass-Blocking Report

18. How Predictive Is Late-Season Production?

19. Insights After Analyzing Historical ADPs

20. Projecting NFL Pass/Run Splits in 2020

21. Projecting Plays Per Game and Offensive Pace

 

My Real Football Content

1. Stop Running It Up The Middle

2. Run From Shotgun, Not Under Center

3. Throw Beyond The First Down Marker

4. How Often Do Running Backs Block?

5. Should the NFL Run More in the End Zone?


Source URL: https://www.rotoworld.com/article/going-deep/projecting-plays-game-and-offensive-pace