A huge trend on offense right now in the NFL is to flex a running back or tight end out wide. Some of the best offenses in the NFL are doing this. Last year, the two teams that did it the most were New England and Atlanta.
Is it by chance that the two best offences are doing this? Probably not so what do they gain? Well it is the most effective way to know if it is man or zone coverage. This becomes even more valuable when you have a matchup problem at these positions.
The offense gains a huge advantage. If a line back goes out to cover RB/TE then you know it is man. If the corner stays out to cover the RB/TE then you know it is zone coverage.
NFL Defenses need to have an effective counter to this because tipping your coverages before the snap is gives the offense too big of an advantage.
In order to understand the reasoning behind what I am suggesting, we first have to understand how NFL zones work. When NFL teams run their zone concepts, especially on third down when knowing the coverage is even more important, they are note simple cover 2, cover 3 etc. They are vastly complex with so many rules that you need players to specialize in their particular roles to be able to run them effectively. A solution would be, why not have the line backer follow the TE/RB out and then still play zone. Well the line backer won’t have mastered the rules to play the outside corner in their zone concept effectively. On the flip side, if you play man out of a zone look, then you will have a line backer matched up on a WR and that is a big advantage for the offense if they can identify the coverage.
Now getting back to my original point. I believe that teams should show on film the opposite of what their coverage tip shows. They just need to do it enough to make the offense believe that it is a possibility that you could be showing man but actually be in zone or vice versa.
Now I know that I am arguing against myself. But few things to consider:
- You’re not going to do this all the time, just enough to make the offense think twice. It might put you at a disadvantage for a play or two if the offense can identify it but for all the others you should be at an advantage
- When you initially run it, the offense should be surprised giving you the upper hand. Should reduce the concerns about running it initially.
- I believe you can scheme up a coverage that can compete on a small sample size. Let’s walk through them:
- Zone – In this case you are going to have a line backer and a corner out of position. The plus of this is it’s on the same side of the field. You’ll have to go more simplistic on that side of the field but there are a number of variations that you can run to roll coverage to that side of the field. This will discourge throwing to that side of the field and on the opposite side you can run your more complex coverages.
- Man – In this case the mismatch is the line backer on a wide receiver. The plus is you’ll have the flexed out WR or TE covered by a corner which 9/10 is a dominating matchup for you. You should be able to use your free defenders to help the linebacker.
If you do it a few times you can remove that huge advantage that an offense gets by using formation to know the coverage. Worth while trade off in my opinion.
It’s a great time of year for Fantasy Football enthusiasts – DRAFT SEASON! Drafts will be happening all this month (although you really should wait until the third week of the preseason is completed) so here are some thoughts to help with your draft. Ultimately, you’re looking to lay the foundation and give yourself a chance to be successful over the course of the season. So many things need to go just right over the course of a season that you’re not going to win your fantasy season on draft day. You can certainly lose it however, be prepared.
This seems to be more and more cliché each year but wait on QB. Eventually there will have to come a point where everyone will wait and taking a top rated QB will become the optimum play, but every draft I do the top QBs are off the board too early. This is why. The top 5 QBs last year averaged 21.66 points per game. QBs 11-15 averaged 17.34 points per game. That’s a difference of about 4 points per game. If you look at the same for running backs it jumps to about 6 points per game. Based on the assumption that you want to maximize your points per week, you would rather have a top RB and middle QB than top QB and middle RB. There are a number of other issues but essentially it boils down to opportunity cost. I would love to have the best QB on my team but in order for me to draft that QB I have to give up drafting say a running back. I would rather have better skilled players and a middle of the pack QB than the best QB and a middle of the road skilled players
The other strategy that I like to implement is when I do take a QB, I take a second very shortly after. This is less about bye week fill ins and more about insurance/point maximization. Players do have bad seasons all the time. Having two middle of the pack QBs is a great way to ensure that you will have at least one start-able player (especially as most teams in the leagues I play in draft 2 QBs making waiver wire adds more difficult). The second is that I generally like to play the match-up. You can easily find two middle of the pack QBs that will produce higher than the top QB (taking whichever QB has the better week as your total). Now you still have to start the correct QB but generally speaking if you play the match-up you can create a QB by committee that produces close to a top QB level.
I would argue that running back is the most important position to hit on, especially early on. You need to have a quote unquote stud running back that you can send out there every week. The first running back you take is going to have the best chance at that but it’s really 50/50 whether they will live up to that stud status. That is one reason you need to prioritize it early and often. Give yourself the most amount of chances to get a stud. According to ADP, Todd Gurley was the first RB taken in most drafts last year. He finished 20th in total points. Useable but certainly not what owners had hoped for when they drafted him. If they had put all their eggs into that basket and waited a long time to draft another they were screwed.
The other issue if injuries. Running backs take such a beating and because of this miss the most amount of games due to injury on average. Counting on two running backs for an entire season isn’t realistic, so you’re going to want to come out of the draft with at least 3 that you would be comfortable starting – but the more the merrier.
Trust me. Having that one running back that you can pencil into your lineup every week makes your life so much easier. Do yourself a favour and give yourself a good chance at that by drafting running backs early and often.
Bid euchre is a great game! If you like euchre and don’t know what bid euchre is google it. It is a far superior version and once you start playing it you will never go back to regular euchre. This post is going to be fairly specific – so I suggest only people that are familiar with the game continue reading.
What is the force up?
The force occurs when it is your bid and you force your partner to go alone. Technically it can occur at any time and with any number of assist cards (the cards that are added to the loner player’s hand received from the partner). However, typically you only see the 3rd or 4th bidding player forcing their partner up. The reasoning is it is not a good strategy to force your partner up when you have zero idea what is in their hand.
Why is this a great rule?
The easiest way to answer this is to explain how the rule came about in the first place. I started really getting annoyed when my partner or myself would be first to bid and we had a great hand – so great that we would be a card or two away from a lay down loner. But because you’re bidding first you have no information as to what is in your partner’s hand so either you must risk it, hoping your partner has it, or not go alone. Now in a normal situation, mathematically it makes sense to not go alone. But when your partner did end up having that card it was super frustrating. So how to get around this is the force up was created which allows your partner to force you to go alone when they have the card they assume you need. So, this rule really just removes the frustration of this situation.
An example to make sure you’re following
Examples are the best way to fully understand in my opinion so here is one. Let’s say you’re first to bid and this is your hand. 1x Jack of diamonds, 2x Jack of hearts, 2x Ace of diamonds, 1x Ace of hearts, 1x Ace of clubs, 1x King of spades. Now that is a great hand. If you were to try going alone with 2 cards, with diamonds being the suit, you would need your partner to have the jack or diamonds or for the opponent that holds it to have no other diamonds in their hand. You could try going alone but mathematically you’re better off calling 6 diamonds. So, let’s say you’re a smart player and call 6 diamonds. It gets to your partner and they do indeed have the jack of diamonds. They can force you up with 2, giving you the jack of diamonds and either another trump or an ace and it will be a lay down (no matter what your opponent has they cannot beat you). If they don’t have that jack then they pass and if you win the bid then you’re guaranteed your 6 points, perhaps more. So, you’re guaranteed 6-12 points with this rule. Without it you either are limited to a maximum of 8 points or you could go alone but you would risk going down 12.
All in all, I think it’s a great rule and I’m sure if you start playing with it, you will agree too! Next time you play go and give the force up a try!