The Quality Game Score helps you dominate your Fantasy league by identifying the most consistent Fantasy players in your league. Another tool within the Quality Game Score arsenal is the Quality Matchup; it identifies which players should earn a Quality Game in any specific week.
A Quality Matchup is any game where a Fantasy player is playing either at home, or away versus a bad defense (Bottom 10). Therefore, every player during a full, 16-game season should have eight Quality Matchups at a minimum. Some will have more based on their scheduled opponent. History has proven that on average, players will earn a Quality Game in approximately 70 percent of their Quality Matchups. This concept is extremely helpful when making lineup decisions during the season.
This week, we will take a look at the running backs and see how they performed during their Quality Matchups. Quality Games Earned (QGE) and Quality Matchups Played (QMP) define their appropriate columns, which lead to their Quality Matchup Success Rate (QMSR).
The big Fantasy stars that are Arian Foster, Matt Forte, LeSean McCoy and Ray Rice show they dominate during Quality Matchups. However, let’s be honest, these guys dominate regardless of who they play. All four were a perfect 100 percent Quality Matchup Success Rate (QMSR). The other two players at a 100 percent were Jahvid Best and Fred Jackson. Both are very good players, but not perfect. I expect Fred Jackson to continue his success in 2012, however, Best is a huge injury risk and should be avoided.
Darren Sproles and Maurice Jones-Drew have 90+ percent QMSR’s and should continue their success in 2012 as well. The players in the 80 percent QMSR range have some questions marks. Marshawn Lynch was gunning for a big paycheck and got it during the offseason. Can he continue this in 2012? I’m betting he may not be as “focused” as he was in 2011.
Ryan Mathews became the consistent star that many thought he would in 2011. While many experts are expecting a bigger year in 2012 due to the loss of touchdown vulture Mike Tolbert, remember the team replaced him with Le’Ron McClain. I’d be happy if Mathews was just as good as he was last season.
Ahmad Bradshaw was solid when he wasn’t injured in 2011. Brandon Jacobs is out in 2012, and that could allow Bradshaw to earn better Fantasy numbers or get hurt faster. Only time will tell. Michael Turner earned an impressive 10 Quality Games out of 13 Quality Matchups played. However, he only has 11 Quality Matchups in 2012. Is there a concern? No, not really, as he was two for three in non-Quality Matchups.
However, some players do earn most of their Quality Games when playing in a Quality Matchup. The chart below is expanded from the above chart to represent which players’ QMSR greatly exceeded their normal QSR. This excess is called Quality Matchup Value Added (QMVA). This highlights the players who may rely on weaker schedules to improve their consistency. Fantasy owners need to be aware of these players as you enter 2012. These players could see a decline in the Fantasy consistency and value.
Let’s focus at the top of the list. These players improved their overall QSR by dominating during their Quality Matchups and didn’t perform as well during non-Quality Matchups. As you will note, just like the quarterbacks, these are usually marginal Fantasy players (Shonn Greene and Felix Jones), or players who “broke out” last season by dominating the weaker competition (Marshawn Lynch and Reggie Bush).
Greene will probably continue to have the starting job in New York, which means another year of similar results. In Dallas, Jones will have to compete with DeMarco Murray who also had a +12 Quality Matchup Value Add (QMVA).
Rashard Mendenhall and Jahvid Best both benefitted as well. Mendenhall just played poorly against the stronger teams, and Best missed most of the season with an injury. Both are risky picks in 2012.
Most of the solid and consistent Fantasy stars are located within a plus or minus 10 QMVA. Remember the negatives do not mean the player is not necessarily taking advantage of his Quality Matchups. Maurice Jones-Drew has a -4 QMVA because his QMSR is 90 percent and his regular QSR is 94 percent. Yep, nothing to worry about here.
Another great example is Steven Jackson, who has a -6 QMVA. He was six for nine in Quality Matchups but was five for six in non-Quality Matchups. When a player is that strong against stronger competition, he’s a player that I want on my team. His consistency will always pay off regardless of game scenario.
Quality Matchups don’t guarantee a Quality Game but they are an excellent source for them. Keep this in mind as you pick your running backs this coming season on your way to dominating your league.
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