Niagara Gazette —
RINGER TIME: DYLAN LERCH
A former online poker grinder is approaching fantasy football defenses with a simple assumption: Sports books in Las Vegas and elsewhere know more than you do about how NFL teams will perform.
Each week, Dylan Lerch posts defensive rankings on Reddit (http://bit.ly/15Q83Ws ) and Nerdball Magazine (http://bit.ly/1eC5pok ), derived by a formula combining point spreads and totals with turnover statistics to generate weekly rankings that look far different from the season-long cheat sheets of many fantasy experts.
It's a next-level argument to streaming, and the age-old assumption you shouldn't draft a defense or kicker until the last round.
The consensus? They're hard to predict and score comparably by the end of the year. But in practice many fantasy players respond by playing whatever defense or kicker they get late in their draft and considering the positions an afterthought during the year.
That creates a hole for savvy fantasy owners to pick up valuable points each week, without the investment of a draft pick.
"These lines, they might not be 100 percent perfect, but for essentially our imprecise fantasy football purposes they are far better than any other predictive model that we have available," Lerch said. "They reflect injuries ... they reflect weather, they reflect every single scenario and variable that can describe a football game."
Lerch, who approaches fantasy football as a game that can be solved, said the effort is an attempt to gain an edge on information, as teams try to guard their plans on the field and fantasy players try to predict what's going to happen.
"You're trying to exploit your opponent's lack of information," he said.
Entered Monday ahead in all five leagues. Ended the night 2-2-1, with the tie coming on the last play of the Houston-San Diego game when Randy Bullock made a 41-yard field goal for my opponent. One loss was by 2 fantasy points to an opponent who scored 16 points with Texans tight end Owen Daniels, while the other was to a first-time fantasy player who scored a combined 27 fantasy points with Chargers running back Ryan Mathews and the Washington Redskins defense.
Both wins came in leagues with Manning.Oskar Garcia is a news editor for the AP in Honolulu. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/oskargarcia