In my Offensive Tendencies review last week I performed some analysis of how often I was able to project the passing yards within 40 yards and the rushing yards within 20 yards. To see more of that analysis click here. This week I promised I would do some analysis of the passing and rushing touchdown projections. So here we go…

For my touchdown analysis, I will count all of the times that my projected touchdowns fell within 0.5 of the actual results. So if I projected 0.8 rushing touchdowns and the team scored one rushing touchdown it would be a success if they got zero touchdowns it would be a failed projection. As for the “.5” scenarios, if I projected 1.5 touchdown passes and the team actual threw two touchdown passes then I would count that as a success. However, if they only threw one touchdown then I would count that as a failed projection. Here are the results from the first nine weeks of the season:

Week Pass TD <0.5 % < 0.5 Pass TD Rush TD < 0.5 % < 0.5 Rush TD Teams
1 13 41% 7 22% 32
2 14 44% 8 25% 32
3 14 44% 12 38% 32
4 6 20% 10 33% 30
5 13 46% 11 39% 28
6 13 46% 6 21% 28
7 10 36% 12 43% 28
8 9 32% 8 29% 28
9 9 35% 11 42% 26

 

From the results, you can see that the predictability of touchdowns seems to bounce around every week, but has generally stayed in the 30% to 45% range for both passing and rushing touchdown most weeks so far this season. It also doesn’t appear that my touchdown projections are improving over the course of the season so far, where my yardage projections did show some gradual improvement as we have moved further into the season. Based on this information we can draw some of the same conclusions that you typically hear from fantasy analysts, that predicting touchdowns is difficult because of all the volatility that exists with touchdowns. With this information, I am going to try to make a concerted effort to improve on my touchdown projections going forward, by examining the numbers a little deeper including the red zone and inside the 10 play tendencies that I recite in my articles. I also plan to take a stand on the “.5” touchdown projection when it arises and move it to either a “.6” or “.4” based on my analysis to which outcome I think is more likely.

As for the Week 9 review, the projections did pretty well. There were 14 passing yardage projections that fell within 40 yards for a 54% success rate which is the highest since Week 2. On the rushing yards side, there were 17 out of 26 (65%) that fell within 20 rushing yards which is around the level of success that I have had most weeks recently.

Here is the Week 9 review…

Cleveland Browns @ Cincinnati Bengals

Projected Plays Pass Pass% Pass Yards Pass TD Run Run% Rush Yards Rush TD Score
Cleveland Browns 62 34 54.8% 197 1.1 28 45.2% 113 0.4 16.7
Cincinnati Bengals 67 35 52.2% 268 2.0 32 47.8% 142 1.2 27.7
Actual Plays Pass Pass% Pass Yards Pass TD Run Run% Rush Yards Rush TD Score
Cleveland Browns 53 36 67.9% 168 1 17 32.1% 69 0 10
Cincinnati Bengals 66 29 43.9% 234 3 37 56.1% 152 1 31

The Browns executed fewer plays than projected and went to the air at a higher clip. Despite a couple extra attempts, the passing game with Johnny Manziel was still unable to reach their projected yardage, but did manage one touchdown pass. The running game saw far fewer carries than expected which resulted in significantly less rushing yards than projected and without a touchdown on the ground. The Browns have passed over 66% of the time from inside the 10 yard line this season.

Working with a lead, the Bengals pounded the ball on the ground even more frequently than projected. The increased carries resulted in slightly more rushing yards than projected to go along with one rushing touchdown. The passing game, despite fewer attempts, was effective with slightly less passing yards, but three touchdown passes through the air.

Takeaways:

  • The Browns passing game will continue to struggle when Manziel is at QB

Increased Opportunities Review:

  • Bengals running game (Both Jeremy Hill and Giovanni Bernard) (++)
    • Hill had 52 rushing yards and Bernard had 72 rushing yards, but neither scored

Oakland Raiders @ Pittsburgh Steelers

Projected Plays Pass Pass% Pass Yards Pass TD Run Run% Rush Yards Rush TD Score
Oakland Raiders 66 42 63.6% 275 2.0 24 36.4% 96 0.3 21.8
Pittsburgh Steelers 65 38 58.5% 284 1.7 27 41.5% 115 0.7 24.1
Actual Plays Pass Pass% Pass Yards Pass TD Run Run% Rush Yards Rush TD Score
Oakland Raiders 69 44 63.8% 301 4 25 36.2% 139 1 35
Pittsburgh Steelers 81 51 63.0% 413 2 30 37.0% 195 2 38

The Raiders play distribution fell in line with the projection. The passing game was very effective putting up slightly more passing yards than projected and throwing for four touchdown passes. The running game was more effective than anticipated with significantly more yards on the ground than projected, to go along with a rushing score. The Raiders have passed over 57% of their offensive plays in the red zone this season.

The Steelers ran significantly more plays than projected which resulted in significantly more pass attempts than an already increased pass attempt projection. As a result, the passing game threw for significantly more yardage than projected with two touchdown passes. The running game was very effective rushing for significantly more yardage than projected with two touchdowns on the ground. The Steelers do continue to run as they near the goal line with over 58% of their plays from inside the 10 coming on the ground.

Takeaways:

  • More injuries for the Steelers with Ben Roethlisberger expected to miss 1-2 weeks, look for the Steelers to go back to the running game more frequently with Big Ben out.

Increased Opportunities Review:

  • Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers passing game (Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, and Heath Miller) (+++)
    • Roethlisberger threw for 334 yards and 2 TDs before leaving with an injury, Brown had a huge day with 17 catches for 284 yards, Bryant only had 31 receiving yards, but did score 1 TD and Miller had a disappointing day with only 3 catches for 32 yards.

Jacksonville Jaguars @ New York Jets

Projected Plays Pass Pass% Pass Yards Pass TD Run Run% Rush Yards Rush TD Score
Jacksonville Jaguars 65 41 63.1% 221 1.7 24 36.9% 86 0.2 18.0
New York Jets 70 37 52.9% 239 1.7 33 47.1% 123 0.9 24.4
Actual Plays Pass Pass% Pass Yards Pass TD Run Run% Rush Yards Rush TD Score
Jacksonville Jaguars 65 46 70.8% 381 2 19 29.2% 98 0 23
New York Jets 64 36 56.3% 272 2 28 43.8% 29 2 28

The Jaguars attacked the Jets through the air with over 70% of their plays. With the increased attempts, the passing game put up significantly more yardage than projected and threw for two touchdowns. The running game was also effective despite fewer carries than projected, rushing for slightly more yardage than expected but without a rushing touchdown. The Jaguars have passed 60% of the time inside the 10 yard line this season.

The Jets passed the ball at a slightly higher rate than projected. The passing game was effective with slightly more yardage than projected to go along with two passing touchdowns. The running game was ineffective averaging only one yard per carry but did manage to score two rushing touchdowns. The Jets have run the ball 50% of the time in the red zone this season.

Takeaways:

  • The Jaguars rush defense continues to be strong this year, only allowing an average of 3.22 yards per carry

Increased Opportunities Review:

  • None, so give me the Jets Defense (++)
    • Good game for the Jets defense with 6 sacks and forcing 4 turnovers

St. Louis Rams @ Minnesota Vikings

Projected Plays Pass Pass% Pass Yards Pass TD Run Run% Rush Yards Rush TD Score
St. Louis Rams 59 31 52.5% 200 1.1 28 47.5% 140 0.8 18.1
Minnesota Vikings 65 34 52.3% 221 0.8 31 47.7% 142 0.8 19.1
Actual Plays Pass Pass% Pass Yards Pass TD Run Run% Rush Yards Rush TD Score
St. Louis Rams 70 34 48.6% 168 0 36 51.4% 160 1 18
Minnesota Vikings 63 28 44.4% 159 0 35 55.6% 145 2 21

The Rams play distribution was focused on the running game as expected. The passing game fell short of their passing yardage projection and failed to score in the air. The running game was productive finishing slightly over their yardage projection with one rushing touchdown. The Rams run over 63% of the time from inside the 10 yard line.

The Vikings also had a run heavy play distribution as expected. The passing game also fell short of their projected passing yards and failed to throw a touchdown pass. The running game fell in line with their projected yardage and scored two touchdowns on the ground. The Vikings have run the ball over 64% of their offensive plays from inside the 10 yard line this season.

Takeaways:

  • Watch the Teddy Bridgewater injury, if he misses any time I would expect the Vikings offensive play distribution to stay with the same run heavy approach

Increased Opportunities Review:

  • None, should be a low scoring, run heavy game between two very similar teams. Both Defenses could be in play (+)
    • Defenses were solid but didn’t have very good fantasy days with only one sack each and one turnover by the Vikings. Kickers would have been the better call.

Miami Dolphins @ Buffalo Bills

Projected Plays Pass Pass% Pass Yards Pass TD Run Run% Rush Yards Rush TD Score
Miami Dolphins 65 44 67.7% 259 1.9 21 32.3% 91 0.5 20.7
Buffalo Bills 67 35 52.2% 223 1.7 32 47.8% 133 0.9 23.5
Actual Plays Pass Pass% Pass Yards Pass TD Run Run% Rush Yards Rush TD Score
Miami Dolphins 62 39 62.9% 318 0 23 37.1% 106 2 17
Buffalo Bills 51 15 29.4% 181 1 36 70.6% 266 3 33

The Dolphins ran the ball slightly more often than projected. The passing game was fairly effective with more yards through the air than projected, but no touchdown passes. The running game was productive, running for slightly more yardage than projected and scoring two touchdowns on the ground.

The Bills ran far fewer plays than projected and focused heavily on the ground game with over 70% of their plays. As a result, the running game was very productive with 266 rushing yards and three scores. The passing game was effective with the limited attempts, but still fell short of their projected yardage and only had one touchdown pass. The Bills have run the ball 58% of the time in the red zone this season.

Takeaways:

  • First fairly close game the Dolphins have been in since they got a new coach and they were a little more focused on the running game than they were with the previous coach

Increased Opportunities Review:

  • Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins passing game (Jarvis Landry) (+)
    • Tannehill had 309 passing yards, but had zero touchdown passes, Landry had 11 receptions for 69 yards
  • Tyrod Taylor and the Bills passing game (Sammy Watkins, assuming he plays) (+)
    • With only 12 passing attempts, Taylor had 181 yards and 1 TD, while Watkins still put up 8 catches for 168 yards and 1 TD

Tennessee Titans @ New Orleans Saints

Projected Plays Pass Pass% Pass Yards Pass TD Run Run% Rush Yards Rush TD Score
Tennessee Titans 64 40 62.5% 231 1.7 24 37.5% 99 0.6 21.3
New Orleans Saints 65 39 60.0% 284 2.0 26 40.0% 117 1.1 25.2
Actual Plays Pass Pass% Pass Yards Pass TD Run Run% Rush Yards Rush TD Score
Tennessee Titans 67 39 58.2% 371 4 28 41.8% 112 0 34
New Orleans Saints 70 43 61.4% 381 3 27 38.6% 61 1 28

The Titans play distribution was close to the projection. The passing game was very effective with significantly more passing yards than projected and four touchdown passes. The running game had slightly more yardage than projected but failed to score. The Titans have passed over 60% of the time in the red zone this season.

The Saints play distribution fell in line with their projection. The passing game was very effective again this week with significantly more yardage than projected to go along with three touchdown passes. The running game fell short of expectations with significantly less yardage than projected and one touchdown run, which came from Drew Brees. The Saints have run the ball almost 55% of the time from inside the 10 yard line.

Takeaways:

  • The Titans offense looked revitalized this week, was it the new coach and return of Marcus Mariota, or just a bad Saints defense
  • The Saints defense is still struggling to stop the pass
  • The Saints passing game is hot, ride the streak

Increased Opportunities Review:

  • Marcus Mariota and the Titans passing game (Delanie Walker) (++)
    • Big day for Mariota with 371 passing yards and 4 TD passes, Walker also had a big day (including one very fluky TD catch) with 7 catches for 95 yards and 2 TDs
  • Mark Ingram (Gut Call: The numbers only say a slight increase, but I expect more) (++)
    • The gut felt rotten after seeing Ingram repeatedly getting stuffed at the goal line, he finished with only 54 rushing yards, he did chip in with 42 receiving yards, but no scores
  • Drew Brees chance for multiple TD passes (+)
    • Brees threw for 3 TDs (and ran one in)

Washington Redskins @ New England Patriots

Projected Plays Pass Pass% Pass Yards Pass TD Run Run% Rush Yards Rush TD Score
Washington Redskins 67 43 64.2% 256 1.4 24 35.8% 96 0.6 19.0
New England Patriots 64 42 65.6% 317 2.4 22 34.4% 106 0.9 30.6
Actual Plays Pass Pass% Pass Yards Pass TD Run Run% Rush Yards Rush TD Score
Washington Redskins 56 41 73.2% 217 1 15 26.8% 37 0 10
New England Patriots 76 39 51.3% 299 2 37 48.7% 161 1 27

The Redskins only ran 56 plays and passed at a higher rate than projected. The passing game fell short of their projected yardage and only threw one touchdown pass. The running game only saw 15 attempts and was very ineffective with only 37 yards and no scores. The Redskins have passed over 59% of the time in the red zone this season.

The Patriots focused on the running game more than projected as they worked with a big lead. The passing attack was still productive falling just short of their projected yardage to go along with two touchdown passes. The running game was very effective with significantly more carries and yards than projected while scoring one rushing touchdown.

Takeaways:

  • None

Increased Opportunities Review:

  • Kirk Cousins and the Redskins passing game (Pierre Garcon) (+)
    • Cousins only had 217 passing yards and 1 TD, while Garcon had 4 catches for 70 yards
  • Tom Brady and the Patriots passing game (Gut Call: Brandon LaFell gets involved this week ) (+)
    • Solid, but not elite day for Brady with 299 passing yards and 2 TDs, LaFell had a good day with 5 catches for 102 yards, but no TD
  • Patriots running game (Both Dion Lewis and LeGarrette Blount should be in play) (+)
    • Lewis had 53 total yards before getting hurt, Blount had a strong game with 129 rushing yards and 1 TD

Green Bay Packers @ Carolina Panthers

Projected Plays Pass Pass% Pass Yards Pass TD Run Run% Rush Yards Rush TD Score
Green Bay Packers 67 36 53.7% 222 1.6 31 46.3% 143 0.9 23.0
Carolina Panthers 67 33 49.3% 208 1.2 34 50.7% 151 1.2 21.8
Actual Plays Pass Pass% Pass Yards Pass TD Run Run% Rush Yards Rush TD Score
Green Bay Packers 72 53 73.6% 369 4 19 26.4% 71 0 29
Carolina Panthers 66 30 45.5% 297 3 36 54.5% 130 1 37

With the Packers trailing most of the game, they went to the air more frequently than projected. The increased attempts resulted in significantly more passing yards and touchdown passes than projected. The running game with limited carries was ineffective with only half the yards projected and no rushing scores. The Packers have passed over 66% of their offensive plays from inside the 10 yard line this season.

The Panthers executed their typical run heavy play distribution. The passing game was very effective with almost 300 passing yards and three scores. The Panthers running game fell slightly short of their projected yardage but did get a rushing score. The Panthers have run the ball over 61% of the time in the red zone this season.

Takeaways:

  • The Packers passing game showed some life in a second half comeback, look for them to still be productive in better matchups

Increased Opportunities Review:

  • Packers running game (Likely a split workload between Eddie Lacy and James Starks) (+)
    • Lacy was ineffective and injured gaining only 10 yards, Starks only had 39 rushing yards, but was a big part of the passing game with 83 receiving yards and 1 TD
  • Panthers running game (Both Cam Newton and Jonathan Stewart should be effective on the ground, but good luck guessing who scores) (+)
    • Newton had 57 rushing yards and 1 TD on the ground while Stewart had 66 rushing yards

Atlanta Falcons @ San Francisco 49ers

Projected Plays Pass Pass% Pass Yards Pass TD Run Run% Rush Yards Rush TD Score
Atlanta Falcons 69 37 53.6% 273 1.4 32 46.4% 142 1.4 24.8
San Francisco 49ers 62 36 58.1% 210 0.8 26 41.9% 104 1.1 18.0
Actual Plays Pass Pass% Pass Yards Pass TD Run Run% Rush Yards Rush TD Score
Atlanta Falcons 61 47 77.0% 303 1 14 23.0% 17 0 16
San Francisco 49ers 65 26 40.0% 185 2 39 60.0% 133 0 17

The Falcons went to passing game far more often than projected. With the extra attempts, the passing game only produced slightly more yardage than projected and only had one touchdown pass. The running game was very ineffective with only 17 rushing yards on 14 attempts.

With Blaine Gabbert at quarterback in a close game, the 49ers focused on the running game. Despite fewer pass attempts than projected the passing game only finished just short of their passing yardage projection and had two touchdown passes. The running game was able to exceed their rushing yards projection with the extra attempts but failed to score on the ground.

Takeaways:

  • With the Falcons running game ineffective they went to the air with greater frequency this week, I don’t expect this to continue
  • The 49ers will try to have Gabbert be a “game manager” which will limit any upside for the passing game

Increased Opportunities Review:

  • Devonta Freeman (+)
    • Only 12 rushing yards for Freeman, but he had 8 catches for 67 yards and 1 TD
  • Matt Ryan chance for 2nd TD pass (+)
    • Had opportunities, but finished with only 1 TD pass
  • 49ers running game chance for a TD (With both Carlos Hyde and Reggie Bush out, it is too difficult to predict who will get the score) (+)
    • 49ers running game had some success but failed to score

New York Giants @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Projected Plays Pass Pass% Pass Yards Pass TD Run Run% Rush Yards Rush TD Score
New York Giants 65 40 61.5% 261 2.4 25 38.5% 96 0.5 25.1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 68 35 51.5% 244 1.6 33 48.5% 136 0.8 22.8
Actual Plays Pass Pass% Pass Yards Pass TD Run Run% Rush Yards Rush TD Score
New York Giants 73 40 54.8% 213 2 33 45.2% 114 0 32
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 59 36 61.0% 249 0 23 39.0% 136 1 18

The Giants went to the ground game more often than projected. The passing game fell short of their projected yardage but did manage to throw for two touchdown passes. The running game with the extra carries were able to exceed their rushing yardage projections but failed to score. The Giants have passed over 58% of the time in the red zone.

The Buccaneers passed the ball at a higher rate than expected this week. The passing game still fell in line with their projected yardage but failed to throw a touchdown pass. The running game, despite fewer carries than projected, matched their projected yardage and scored a rushing touchdown. The Buccaneers have run the ball over 50% of the time in the red zone this season.

Takeaways:

  • The Bucs had 10 plays inside the 10 and passed on 6 of them, as they continue to be more balanced inside the 10 in recent weeks.

Increased Opportunities Review:

  • Eli Manning and the Giants passing game (Odell Beckham Jr.) (+++)
    • Slow game for Manning with only 213 passing yards and 2 TDs, Beckham still had a good game with 9 catches for 105 yards
  • Jameis Winston and the Bucs passing game (Mike Evans and maybe Austin Sefarian-Jenkins if he plays) (++)
    • Winston had 249 passing yards, but no touchdown passes (got one rushing), Evan had 8 catches for 152 yards on 19 targets
  • Doug Martin (+)
    • Martin only had 31 rushing yards and no scores

Denver Broncos @ Indianapolis Colts

Projected Plays Pass Pass% Pass Yards Pass TD Run Run% Rush Yards Rush TD Score
Denver Broncos 69 42 60.9% 289 1.4 27 39.1% 112 0.9 23.8
Indianapolis Colts 66 43 65.2% 234 1.4 23 34.8% 98 0.6 18.3
Actual Plays Pass Pass% Pass Yards Pass TD Run Run% Rush Yards Rush TD Score
Denver Broncos 51 37 72.5% 281 2 14 27.5% 35 0 24
Indianapolis Colts 77 37 48.1% 252 2 40 51.9% 120 1 27

The Broncos only ran 51 plays and went to the air at a higher rate than projected. The passing game fell in line with their projected yardage and threw two touchdown passes. The running game only had 14 carries and fell well short of their projected yardage and did not score on the ground. The Broncos have passed over 58% of the time in the red zone this season.

The Colts went to the ground game as they worked with a lead. Even with significantly more carries than projected the running game only slightly outproduce their rushing yardage projection while they did score a rushing touchdown. The passing game finished close to their projected yardage with two scores through the air.

Takeaways:

  • The Broncos running game only had 14 carries after a couple of strong games, watch to see if they can do more when they get the opportunity again
  • The Colts were more run focused with their new offensive coordinator and working with a lead, watch to see if that becomes a trend

Increased Opportunities Review:

  • Peyton Manning and the Broncos passing game (Emmanuel Sanders) (++)
    • Good game for Manning with 281 passing yards and 2 TDs, Sanders finished with 6 catches for 90 yards and 1 TD
  • Broncos running game (expect a split of carries between Ronnie Hillman and CJ Anderson, I give a slight edge to Hillman) (+)
    • Only 7 carries each for Anderson and Hillman with Anderson leading the way with 34 yards

Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys

Projected Plays Pass Pass% Pass Yards Pass TD Run Run% Rush Yards Rush TD Score
Philadelphia Eagles 65 39 60.0% 254 1.3 26 40.0% 114 1.1 22.5
Dallas Cowboys 67 36 53.7% 238 1.1 31 46.3% 139 0.7 19.7
Actual Plays Pass Pass% Pass Yards Pass TD Run Run% Rush Yards Rush TD Score
Philadelphia Eagles 72 37 51.4% 262 1 35 48.6% 172 2 33
Dallas Cowboys 71 42 59.2% 299 3 29 40.8% 134 0 27

The Eagles focused on the running game more than projected. The increased rushing attempts resulted in significantly more rushing yards than projected and two rushing touchdowns. The passing game fell in line with their projected yardage with one touchdown pass. The Eagles have run the ball almost 55% of the time from inside the 10 yard line this season.

The Cowboys went to the air more often than projected. The extra pass attempts helped the Cowboys passing game put up almost 300 yards and three touchdown passes. The running game fell in line with their rushing yardage projection but failed to score on the ground.

Takeaways:

  • The Eagles running game is rolling the last few weeks
  • The first week that the Cowboys passing game has shown any life, I don’t trust it until Tony Romo returns.

Increased Opportunities Review:

  • Sam Bradford and the Eagles passing game (Riley Cooper) (+)
    • Okay game for Bradford with 295 passing yards and 1 TD, Cooper did not catch a pass, while Jordan Matthews had 133 yards and 1 TD
  • Matt Cassel and the Cowboys passing game (Dez Bryant) (+)
    • Good game for Cassel with 299 passing yards and 3 TDs, Bryant had a good game with 5 catches for 104 yards and 1 TD

Chicago Bears @ San Diego Chargers

Projected Plays Pass Pass% Pass Yards Pass TD Run Run% Rush Yards Rush TD Score
Chicago Bears 62 35 56.5% 230 1.4 27 43.5% 120 0.9 22.9
San Diego Chargers 66 43 65.2% 302 2.6 23 34.8% 100 0.3 25.4
Actual Plays Pass Pass% Pass Yards Pass TD Run Run% Rush Yards Rush TD Score
Chicago Bears 70 41 58.6% 345 2 29 41.4% 109 1 22
San Diego Chargers 63 44 69.8% 280 1 19 30.2% 77 0 19

The Bears play distribution fell in line with their projection. The passing game was very effective with significantly more yardage than projected to go along with two touchdown passes. The running game fell in line with their projected yardage with one touchdown. The Bears have passed almost 60% of the time in the red zone this season.

The Chargers play distribution was close to the projection. The passing game fell just short of their projected yardage, but only threw one touchdown pass. The running game fell a little short of their projected yardage and failed to score. The Chargers have passed almost 70% of the time in the red zone this season.

Takeaways:

  • Jeremy Langford filled the Matt Forte role very well on Monday, I project the Bears play distribution and running game effectiveness to be the same going forward

Increased Opportunities Review:

  • Jay Cutler and the Bears passing game (Alshon Jeffery and Martellus Bennett) (+)
    • Good game for Cutler with 345 yards and 2 TDs, Jeffery had 10 catches for 151 yards and Bennett had 8 catches for 57 yards and 1 TD
  • Jeremy Langford chance for rushing TD (+)
    • Langford did score a rushing TD and had 142 total yards
  • Philip Rivers chance for more than 2 TD passes (++)
    • Big disappointment for Rivers who only threw 1 TD pass
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