Offensive System


It's one of several time proven variables used 
in our Classic Cheat Sheet Ranking Process


It's the System

Each year Fantasy Studs are forced to the sidelines because of injury. Without missing a beat, a backup player steps in and continues to put up amazing numbers.

These backups all deserve a big round of applause. However, their accomplishments are often a testament to a team's offensive scheme. 

Herein, we're going to overview the predictive power of ‘Offensive System’ and how leverages this knowledge to enhance player rankings via the Classic-Style Cheat Sheets.

Only in Fantasyland

Imagine you’re a new NFL head coach. Further, assume you’ve been groomed for 20 years to implement a pure West Coast offense. For you, the West Coast offensive isn’t a philosophy; it’s more like a religion.

For you, there is no debate - the West Coast system is the ultimate scheme to force mismatches and win football games. You love the fact that the West Coast system spreads the field, uses a wide variety of formations and leverages the passing game to achieve ball control. For you, it’s the ultimate low-risk, high-production pro-style attack!

Now, imagine you enter training camp and your roster includes (RB) Jim Brown (at age 25) and (RB) Barry Sanders (at age 26). However, you find out your starting QB is washed-up and your squad is very weak at wide receiver. To make matters worse, your team salary cap is at the NFL maximum.

Time to look for a new job? Perhaps, but if you burn the West Coast playbook and go to a ball-control running game, you might still have a chance (Jim Brown was one hell of a runner).

Back to NFL Reality

In truth, the above scenario would never happen because a team’s offensive philosophy wouldn’t allow it to happen. NFL teams use their offensive philosophy as a blueprint and most staffing decisions on offense reflect the blueprint. For Fantasy Football owners, understanding this is key. 

Offensive System Benefits

Once you examine the NFL under the ‘Offensive System’ microscope, an entirely new world opens up. For the Fantasy Football owner, using ‘Offensive System’ will enhance your ability to predict: 

- Player Movements 
- Coaching Movements 
- Game day ball distribution patterns 
- Player Stats for the upcoming season


Offensive System Microscope

Here's a classic example. To illustrate, lets put the 2001-2004 Detroit Lions under the ‘Offensive System’ microscope.

After the 2000 season, the Lions gave several front office members the pink slip.

As the dust settled, Matt Millen was appointed the Lions new President and Chief Executive. Millen, a former NFL player, had extensive exposure to the West Coast system during his playing days. Soon, Millen made his first big decision. Despite some success, the Lions axed Head Coach Gary Moeller. Moeller was a disciple of Bobby Ross, a man that preached a ridiculously conservative offensive game plan. Next, in the search for a new coach, Millen ignores several outstanding and deserving candidates (all non-West Coast system men). Instead, the Lions name Marty Mornhinweg as their new Head Coach. Some in the media were shocked by Millen’s move. He passed over Herman Edwards and Marvin Lewis for Marty Mornhinweg, a man with relatively little NFL coaching experience.

It’s time to pull out the ‘Offensive System’ microscope. Clearly, Millen wanted to hire a West Coast expert. As a kid at Oak Grove High School, Marty Mornhinweg was already learning his craft. Marty’s coach in high school was Mike Holmgren (West Coast man). Later, Marty briefly played in the NFL for the 49ers and learned under Bill Walsh (West Coast man). Next, Marty replaced Jon Gruden (West Coast man) as an assistant coach at Southeast Missouri State and continued practices Gruden had put into place. By 1996, Mornhinweg was Brett Favre's quarterback coach with the Packers (West Coast system). In 1997, Mornhinweg joined the 49ers (West Coast system) and later was promoted to offensive coordinator in charge of what else, but the West Coast offense. In short, Marty Mornhinweg is an expert in the West Coast system. Understanding Millen’s objective, you can’t fault his selection. As fallout, the Lions axed both their Offensive Line and QB coach. Why? You got it - these guys didn’t fit the Offensive System! 

Looking back, we all know Marty Mornhinweg didn't exactly work out in Detroit. But guess what? After Mornhinweg was axed, the Lions hired Steve Mariucci -- another life-long West Coast man!

The take here is clear. In the NFL, hiring, firing and even targeted selection for deep backups often falls along ‘Offensive System’ party lines.

Coach Andy Reid Said It Well

Several years back free agent journeyman (TE) Jeff Thomason resigned with the Philadelphia Eagles. After which, Eagles Head Coach Andy Reid said: "Jeff and I have had a long player-coach relationship and it will be nice for that to continue." Translated under the ‘Offensive System’ microscope, Reid was saying: Thomason has modest talented at this point in his NFL career, but he understands my system, so you better believe I’m going to keep the guy. 

Learning the System
Learning how to fully exploit ‘Offensive System’ for Fantasy Football is a multifaceted issue and a complete review of this subject is not in the scope of this offering. However, in regard to anticipating player movement, the pattern is clear.

If you’re dead serious about winning Fantasy Football, you’ll need to learn ‘Offensive System.’ For draft day purposes, the good news is ‘Offensive System’ factors have successfully been incorporated into the 4for4 Fantasy Draft Rankings.

Offensive Scheme Stats

You need talent to get the job done in the NFL. If you were running a Ball Control system, you’d certainly be happy to have Jim Brown or Earl Campbell as your go-to runner. Having one of these Hall of Fame talents carrying the pigskin clearly would increase your odds of success. Likewise, having a competent and experienced QB like Steve Young, Joe Montana or Brett Favre lead your West Coast system would help make it fly. No doubt about it, the better the players, the better the output. 

However, each NFL pro-style scheme has certain tendencies. Analysis shows that over many NFL games, these tendency result in rather predictable box-score stats. Friends, that’s something you can put to your advantage. The table below provides expected values over a 16-game NFL season.

Average #
of TD per
% TD
% TD
Spread System 42 42 58 33 67
West Coast System 39 38 62 37 63
Pro-Attack 32 42 58 35 65
Ball Control 31 49 51 47 53
Multiple Formation 27 42 58 41 59

To illustrate, the table shows the average Spread Formation attack will pickup 67% of their TDs via the air.

Careful inspection reveals some rather significant differences. For example, the average West Coast Offensive will generate 26% more TDs per season than the average Ball Control system (39 to 31).

By leveraging this type of analysis, objective data is feed into the 4for4 ranking process. By itself, ‘Offensive System’ grading data is valuable for projecting player stats. When combined with other 4for4 predictive components, ‘Offensive System’ grading data becomes an integral component to enhancing forecasting accuracy.

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