Niagara Gazette


September 11, 2013

FANTASY GRIND: Targeting targets, Vegas for D


Niagara Gazette —  


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 ( ) and Nerdball Magazine ( ), 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 and on Twitter at

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page