10 Things to Know About Pro Bowl Daily Fantasy Football
Everyone loves to hate the Pro Bowl. But whether you like it or not, with daily fantasy football's existence, the Pro Bowl is kind of relevant.
At least for those of you who've found your way to this article.
The final NFL slate of the season includes the league's two bowl games. One of those is incredibly important (a championship is on the line) and the other one is a meaningless exhibition contest where star players have a chance to get injured (nothing significant is on the line). To daily fantasy players, though, both have equal importance -- you can choose players in a lineup from the four teams in both games, and all players acquire points the exact same way.
Clearly, though, the Pro Bowl is a different beast than the Super Bowl. With the former, guys are constantly in and out of lineups, as the entire team has a high chance of seeing the field at some point in the game. That means volume can be an issue. With the Super Bowl, you know teams aren't going to bench their starters. Tom Brady and Matt Ryan, without an injury, will be on the field.
So how should DFSers attack this small slate? With the Pro Bowl usually being a matchup of stink-filled defenses, should you target the all-star offenses?
Let's take a look at some things we've learned about recent Pro Bowls to help with our decision-making.
1. Over the last five Pro Bowls, a random quarterback has thrown the ball 15.13 times per game.
During the regular season, Matt Ryan and Tom Brady averaged 33.38 and 36.00 attempts per game, respectively. In other words, choosing a Pro Bowl quarterback over one of the starters in the Super Bowl will yield about 44% of the opportunity.
2. The average touchdown rate among quarterbacks during this timeframe is 9.91%.
What's more important than volume in fantasy football? Touchdowns. While passers may not be throwing the ball a whole lot during games, they're hitting the end zone far more often than a typical quarterback would. For context, Ryan's touchdown rate this season was 7.1%, while Brady's was 6.5%.
Even still, given the volume above, a random quarterback in the Pro Bowl would be expected to throw 1.50 touchdowns per game, while Ryan and Brady are still well over 2.00 -- if you're going to use a Pro Bowl quarterback in your lineup, you better hope he tosses the ball more than 20 times.
3. Among the last 30 Pro Bowl quarterbacks, 11 have thrown for fewer than 100 yards.
Unsurprisingly, little volume means fewer cumulative yards. Of these quarterbacks from the last five years, only one has hit the 300-yard mark (Matthew Stafford two years ago). Matt Ryan has done this in 8 of his 18 games this year, while Tom Brady has done it in 6 of 14.
4. Pro Bowl quarterbacks over the last five seasons have averaged 0.80 interceptions per game.
While the Pro Bowl is known for its offense, quarterbacks still make mistakes. For reference, Ryan averaged 0.44 interceptions per game during the regular season, while Brady averaged 0.17.
5. The Super Bowl's over/under is 59. The last three Pro Bowls have seen a total of 76, 60, and 43 points.
Prior to the game in 2014 (the 2013 season), it was announced that teams were allowed to play Cover 2 and press coverage. The game traditionally saw only man coverage. Since then, scores have dropped, especially back in 2014, when only 43 points were scored. Compare that to the 96 points in 2010, 100 in 2011, and 97 in 2012.
6. Only one running back has carried the ball 10 or more times in a Pro Bowl since 2011.
That's 1 in 41 backs, or 2.44% of running backs who've played in the Pro Bowl over the last five seasons. Falcons' running back Devonta Freeman has carried the ball 11 or more times in all but one game this year, while teammate Tevin Coleman's hit the mark in 40% of his contests. Patriots' running back LeGarrette Blount, like Freeman, has seen fewer than 11 in just one, with Dion Lewis carrying the ball 11 or more times in each of his last four games.
7. Just two running backs have rushed for 50 or more yards over the last five years.
Once again, when a player doesn't see volume, we can't expect him to gain a ton of yardage. Only Mark Ingram and Maurice Jones-Drew have gotten to 50 yards on the ground since 2012's game.
8. Running backs have caught 35.71% of all Pro Bowl passes since 2014's game.
Despite the fact that running backs won't get much run in the ground game, they've still got very interesting value in the receiving game. During the 2016 regular season, running backs caught 21.97% of passes, significantly lower than the recent Pro Bowls -- ones that have been under the new press coverage rules.
9. Tight ends have scored 9 of a possible 23 receiving touchdowns over the last three Pro Bowls.
As is the case with everything else listed above, volume hasn't exactly resulted in a lot of receiving yards for individual players -- Allen Robinson, in last year's game, was the first pass-catcher to hit 100 yards since 2013. But touchdowns have been there: tight ends are scoring 3.00 touchdowns per game over these last three Pro Bowls (wide receivers are averaging 3.33 scores per contest).
10. Over the last five Pro Bowls, there have been nine total field goal attempts.
Because teams aren't playing for anything, why try a field goal? You're far better off using Stephen Gostkowski or Matt Bryant in this one.