In a previous post, we discussed how Vegas over/under betting lines are related to actual and fantasy scores. In this post, we will be analyzing the teams that scored the most points, and how it relates to fantasy scores.

Team Average Points per Game Average Fantasy Points per Game Average Fantasy Points per Actual Points Passing Yards Rushing Yards
Carolina Panthers 31.25 96.7825 3.09704 3589 2282
Arizona Cardinals 29.8 108.384 3.63704698 4616 1917
New England Patriots 29 106.5093333 3.672735632 4587 1404
Seattle Seahawks 26.6 98.58133333 3.706065163 3790 2268
Pittsburgh Steelers 26.4375 105.57375 3.993333333 4603 1724
Cincinnati Bengals 26.13333333 92.588 3.542908163 3923 1805
New Orleans Saints 26.06666667 113.3533333 4.34859335 4970 1491
New York Giants 26 98.09466667 3.772871795 4347 1609
Kansas City Chiefs 25.86666667 84.344 3.260721649 3255 2044
Washington Redskins 24.6 98.12 3.988617886 4095 1566
Buffalo Bills 24.33333333 90.32533333 3.712 3343 2432
New York Jets 24.1875 96.925 4.007235142 4057 1868
Oakland Raiders 23.26666667 95.71333333 4.113753582 3879 1457
Jacksonville Jaguars 23 95.16 4.137391304 4108 1473
Green Bay Packers 22.93333333 92.164 4.01877907 3503 1850
Minnesota Vikings 22.8125 78.19625 3.427780822 2928 2211
Detroit Lions 22.73333333 95.23733333 4.189325513 4212 1335
Denver Broncos 22.6 90.43333333 4.001474926 3970 1718
Philadelphia Eagles 22.53333333 93.32133333 4.14147929 4087 1743
Houston Texans 21.1875 90.60125 4.276165192 3833 1731
Chicago Bears 21.13333333 85.02933333 4.023470032 3663 1851
Atlanta Falcons 20.93333333 97.39466667 4.652611465 4379 1611
Indianapolis Colts 20.8125 83.68875 4.021081081 3704 1438
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20.26666667 87.548 4.319802632 3852 2162
San Diego Chargers 20 99.90625 4.9953125 4591 1358
Baltimore Ravens 19.86666667 92.01866667 4.631812081 4271 1478
Miami Dolphins 19.375 90.605 4.676387097 3811 1496
Tennessee Titans 19.06666667 84.46 4.42972028 3503 1485
St. Louis Rams 18 68.62 3.812222222 2805 1956
Dallas Cowboys 17.93333333 79.47333333 4.431598513 3471 1890
Cleveland Browns 16.33333333 80.964 4.956979592 3782 1529
San Francisco 49ers 14.06666667 73.15733333 5.200758294 3316 1544

Below are the leaders in average points scored per game. We see the usual suspects, teams that we know have top tier offenses.

Team Average Points per Game
Carolina Panthers 31.25
Arizona Cardinals 29.8
New England Patriots 29
Seattle Seahawks 26.6
Pittsburgh Steelers 26.4375

 

Below are the teams that scored the most offensive fantasy points. Not surprisingly, the Cardinals, Patriots and Steelers are on the list. New Orleans scored the 7th most actual points last year, so that makes sense as well. But the Chargers were in the bottom half of the league in scoring. The Saints and the Chargers were not in the top 5 scoring offenses, but they do have highly regarded quarterbacks and tend to rely on the passing game, which tends to generate more statistics. Philip Rivers and Drew Brees had the most attempts last year in the NFL. Rivers threw 661 attempts, while Brees threw 627 in one less game. Each of these quarterbacks had about 41 attempts per game, whereas the average quarterback had roughly 35 attempts per game.

Team Average Fantasy Points per Game
New Orleans Saints 113.3533333
Arizona Cardinals 108.384
New England Patriots 106.5093333
Pittsburgh Steelers 105.57375
San Diego Chargers 99.90625

When we look at the average fantasy points per actual points, we see teams that were in the bottom half of the league in scoring. This is because their low scoring output helps to raise the ratio of fantasy to actual points. What is more interesting is that Carolina, the top scoring offense in 2015, actually ranks last in fantasy points per actual point. Why is their fantasy output so low? Looking at how their offense functioned tells a deeper story. In opposition to the Chargers and Saints, the Panthers had the most rushing attempts of any team last season.

Team Average Fantasy Points per Actual Points
San Francisco 49ers 5.200758294
San Diego Chargers 4.9953125
Cleveland Browns 4.956979592
Miami Dolphins 4.676387097
Atlanta Falcons 4.652611465

Below are the passing and rushing yard totals for each team. Carolina was 2nd in the league in rushing yards, but well below the median in terms of passing yards. This also helps to explain why their fantasy output was so low compared to their actual scoring.

The answer lies in how fantasy scoring works. For rushing plays, one player benefits in terms of fantasy points. However, for passing plays, both the quarterback and the receiver get points. This method of double counting heavily favors the passing game. Therefore, when looking at how many fantasy points a team produces, passing is much more significant.

In fact, it looks as though total passing yards are very much positively correlated the average fantasy points per game of each team. In comparison rushing totals give very little information about the teams’ ability to score fantasy points on a game-by-game basis. The choice to run the ball instead of throwing obviously limits passing production, thereby reducing fantasy output.

In closing, last year’s fantasy monsters were the teams who weren’t afraid to air it out. Teams like the Saints and Chargers are reliant on the passing game, and we see their fantasy numbers rise as a result regardless of success on the scoreboard. Teams that possess a more balanced attack are likely fighting against the clock when it comes to fantasy production, and the points-per-reception scoring of DraftKings favors those teams that are able to distribute the ball through the air.