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How to Use Defense Patterns

What is the Defense Patterns tool?

The Defense Patterns tool gives you a quick and easy visualization for each teams’ pass and rush defense with a graphic showing the corresponding league averages below.

How to Use Defense Patterns

The Defense Pass Allowed Patterns tab shows a breakdown of the completion percentage against a selected defense, with the left, middle, and right of the field broken into a short (<14 yards in the air) and deep (>/= 15 yards in the air). A color code also denotes the most targeted zones (Green) to the least (Red). 

Once a team is selected (Fig. 1 below), you can compare that particular teams’ defense and to the league average (Fig 2).

(Figure 1 above: Baltimore’s Defense Pass Allowed Heatmap)

(Figure 2 above: League Average Heatmap)

By looking at the tool, you can see that last year Baltimore was particularly vulnerable to passes in the deep middle zone. This information could be used to help make roster decisions in standard fantasy matchups, as well as in DFS formats.

The Defense Rush Allowed Patterns tab gives a comprehensive breakdown of the success and frequency of every team defense. It is broken down by the holes on the offensive line. The graphic show the 1 and 2 holes have been combined and are categorized as the Center. The 3 and 4 holes are Guards (left and right), while the 5 and 6 holes are Tackles (left and right). That leaves the 7 and 8 holes as the Ends (left and right). Here, the color gradient does correspond to most attempts or YPC. Just like the Defense Pass Allowed Patterns, once a team is selected, a graphic displaying the team numbers and league averages appear.

(Figure 3 above: Cleveland’s Defense Rush Allowed Pattern)

(Figure 4 above: League Average Defense Rush Allowed Pattern)

You can see that Cleveland had a surprisingly stout rush defense last season, on a yards-per-carry basis. They beat the league average in each zone, some by significant margins. However, this might not be a team to totally avoid playing a RB against though. As you can also see, the Browns gave up well above the number of total carries.

Something else to pay attention to is directional frequencies. While the league average shows a heavy distribution up the middle, Cleveland’s defense had its most targeted zone coming behind the right guard. All while having the least success stopping teams running off of the right tackle. Teams were targeting the right side of the CLE defense, something which may be important if you have a RB running behind a line that happens to successfully attack the right side on a regular basis. When making a roster decision this kind of defensive analysis is helpful in all formats on a week to week basis.

Check out our Defense Patterns Tool now, on the “Data Analysis” page.

Contributed by Scott (@DFSMich_5 on Twitter)