Owners Need Better Time in the 40.

#LovetheNFL but not liking the owners right now. I’m tired of this BS about work-stoppage, court dates and disagreements.  And I’m not seeing much from owners that impresses me. Here we have captains of industry looking for more millions to go with their other millions and it feels like they are taking us fans for granted.

They are sitting on  a pile of gold because of us, the fans.

We love the game, we love our teams and we cheer for the players. We don’t do the same for the owners. Matter of fact, I’m not sure I know of any fantasy league where you draft an owner, coach maybe, but not an owner.   These are the guys to drop a player if they drop a half-second in a 40, they cut you if you’re old, like 32, or they trade you because you ‘no longer fit’ their scheme. These are also the guys who demand so much effort, hard work and sacrifice just to be in their employ.

But the problem i’m having right now, is i’m not seeing the same hard work, effort and dedication on the part of the owners to keep their business, and our sport, going strong. We’re the ones who know the names of linemen, blocking schemes, cover-two, 3-4 vs 4-3 and watch endless hours of Sportscenter, NFL LIve, Redzone and friggin’ re-runs of Super Bowls over and over and over. We play fantasy in several leagues each year and we know their team line-up as well as they do. We work hard for them, the players bust their butts for them yet i’m not seeing the same from them to keep the league going.

And honestly, i don’t care if they make $15M or $18M each season, there is money to go around and they know it. And i’m not worried about Brees, Manning, Brady or other elites right now, no offense, because they’re not the ones who might have to give up the game they love to go work at UPS, Fedex or Home Depot. Everyone needs to pull together to get this done. It sounds like the players are giving it a shot and we need the owners to bust a gut, do better in the 40, stay after workout to do more reps or work the sled harder.

It takes effort to win the the NFL and we need all 32 owners to show they have what it takes to be in the league.

The Trench Guys



Super Bowl Match-Up in the Trenches

Tale Of The Tape Super Bowl XLV

This is the type of stat-chart that should be presented by our friends at Under Armour – their brand is all about “Protect This House” and that’s what these two teams do very well. It’s amazing what you see when digging into the trenches—PIT doesn’t give up anything on the ground and they get a lot when they run the ball. That said, neither D-Line lets opposing teams into the end zone on the ground.

65% Pass Completion % 62%
8.0 Yds Yards per Attempt 8.1 Yds
3.8 Yds Yards per Rush 4.1 Yds
ß12.4 Yds Yards per Reception 13.1 Yds**
5.5/Gm Rushing 1stD 6.6/Gm
12.8/Gm Passing 1stD 10.9/Gm
38 Sacks Allowed 43
4.7 Yds Allw*** Yards per Rush 3.0 Yds Allw*
6.5 Yds Allw Yards per Attempt 6.3 Yds Allw
47** Sacks 48*
6** Rushing TD’s Allowed 5*
5.1/Gm Rushing 1stD Allowed 3.8/Gm
11.6 Yds Allw Yards per Reception 10.3 Yds Allw**
24 Interceptions 21
16 Passing TD’s Allowed 15
10/Gm Passing 1stD Allowed 11/Gm


*1st in NFL **2nd in NFL ***31st in NFL



Could San Diego be the most frustrating team ever? Their wasted effort in the trenches says so.

by Walter Oelwein

Everyone wants their team to be perfect, and everyone wants their team to win all their games.  But this is unrealistic (unless you’re a Patriots fan).  A team is measured by the number of wins and championships, but fans often have a more realistic assessment of their team, and get frustrated by their performance relative to their assessment of how good the team is. 

If you’re a fan of a bad team, but they win more games than they deserve, you can be generally pleased with the team.  If you’re a fan of a good them, and that teams loses more games than their overall effort and ability merit, this can be, strangely, more frustrating, than being a fan of a bad team that ekes out more wins than they deserve.  Then, if that “good team” doesn’t make the playoffs due to this underperformance, then this is extremely frustrating.  The San Diego Chargers are that team this year.  And we have the stats to prove it.

At Trench Fantasy, we look at what teams are doing in the trenches.  Teams that fight hard in the trenches get Trench Fantasy points.  These are teams that get the tough yards, make the big stuffs, and dominate the line, whether it’s on Offense, Defense or Special Teams.  The more you win in the trenches, the more Trench Points you get.  The more you get pushed around, dominated, stuffed, and see yourself chasing the other team down the field, the fewer trench points you get.  You may even get negative Trench Fantasy points when you get your butt kicked.  Our Trench Fantasy scoring system can be found here. Fans have an intuitive knowledge on how their good their team is not only based on their QBs, RBs, and WRs, but on the ability of the O-Lines, D-Lines, D-Secs and even Special Teams to get the job done in the trenches.  

Based on the Trench Fantasy points measurement, it creates statistically rational view of what is going on in the trenches, and as a result, reveals who are the “good teams” and who are the “bad teams” in the trenches.  For example, the Jets, Steelers and Packers are good teams in the trenches.  You expect them to win because they are tough in the trenches – whether or not they have good QBs, RBs, or WRs.  “Bad teams” in the trenches are Buffalo, Denver, Carolina, and Arizona.  They get their butts kicked in the trenches every week.  

Fans intuitively know the strengths and shortcomings of their teams, and see games through this lens.  When a team that is strong in the trenches loses, this is a surprise – and very frustrating.  When a team that is weak in the trenches wins, this is a pleasant surprise. 

Which brings us to the San Diego Chargers.  The Chargers were the dominant team in the trenches this year.  On defense, they ranked 2nd (behind only the Jets) and on offense they ranked 7th (just behind the Colts).  No other team had this combination of excellence on both offense and defense, and are ranked #1 overall in the Trench Fantasy Power Rankings – as they have earned the most Trench Fantasy points over the course of the 2010 season.  Their toughest competition?  The Jets at #2 and the Steelers at #3.  The Jets are great on defense (ranked #1), but suspect on offense (ranked 17th).  The same goes for Pittsburgh (#3 on defense, but 15th on offense).  The closest team to have a high powered offense and defense in the trenches is the Packers (11th on offense and 4th on defense). 

So fans of the Chargers knew that, going into any game, “the Bolts” are going to have an advantage against the competition.  On top of that – the Chargers perform consistently and amazingly in the trenches.  They rarely have a bad game in the trenches – always putting the team in position to win.   Yet they still lost 7 games and missed the playoffs.  Now that is frustrating!  

Here’s how frustrating it is for Charger fans.  When winning, the Chargers totally blow out the opposition.  They scored, on average 241 Trench Fantasy points when winning.  The average number of Trench Fantasy  points scored – when winning – is 179.  So they totally dominated their competition when winning.  This is what gives Chargers fans the confidence that they have a “good team.”  They can and do blow out their competition! 

Now, when losing, the Chargers also fared well in the trenches.  They scored an average of 114 Trench Fantasy points – when losing.  The league average is 78 points.  So they played better in the trenches when losing than most other teams.  This is highly frustrating.  Your team “plays well,” yet they still lose!  Then they do this enough times to not make the playoffs?  That is really frustrating.  

In looking at the Chargers’ season, there were five games in which their trench play put them in the position to win, but they still lost.  That is, in only two games were they really beat in the trenches.   Let’s look at these games in which they found a way to lose: 

The Chargers dominated in the trenches against the New England Patriots in week 7.  They scored 224 Trench Points compared to 72 Trench Points by the Patriots.  They should have, by all means, won the game, but found a way to lose in OT.  Read the links to the recaps to see why they lost, but be warned if you are a Charger fan, it’s depressing.  But let’s continue.  Week 1 against KC – The Chargers won in the trenches with 168 Trench Fantasy points to 90 Trench Fantasy points for Kansas City (remember that the average Trench Fantasy points scored when winning is 179), yet they still lost the season opener 21-14.  Or how about week 3 against the Seahawks.  They barely lost the trench battle, 139-169.  They would have won in the trenches if they had not given up huge returns on special teams.  In that game, on offense and defense the Chargers battled tough, but it added up to another loss.  Then there was the week 6 loss to the St. Louis Rams.  Again they played tough in the trenches – earning 98 Trench Fantasy points (20 points above the league average when losing) compared to the Rams’ 128 Trench Fantasy points (51 points below the league average when winning).    The Chargers also played tough against the Raiders in week 5, losing the trench battle 85-123, and they would have won the trench battle were it not for an abysmal punting game (in which they had two punts blocked and they were given -43 Trench Points for their punting unit).

Only in week 13 against Oakland and week 16 against Cincinnati were they really beaten down in the trenches, not a good time of year to change the personality and start rolling over in games.  

Over the course of the season, the Chargers play really well in trenches when they win, and still play well in the trenches when they lose.  Especially on offense and defense.  Special teams was where their weaknesses truly exposed themselves.  The Chargers’ special teams are ranked 29th, and their inept special teams play had a knack of negating the winning efforts in the trenches by the offense and defense.  If you’re a fan, this couldn’t be more frustrating.   They win the trench battles, but lose the game wars.

It’s almost better to have a team that doesn’t dominate as much when it wins – showing the ability to “win the close ones.”  These are the teams that “find a way to win.”  These are teams to rally behind.  Or even more exciting is when a team “gets beat” and still finds a way to win.  This is also known as “winning ugly.”  It’s great to have a team that blows out the competition, but you also want your team to “find a way to win” when things are tough in the trenches.   Teams that do this aren’t frustrating, but inspirational—they get the maximum number of wins based on their ability and effort.  The more wins with the fewer trench points reveals the ability to “find a way to win.” 

Let’s take a look at the NFL and find these teams. 

Using Trench Fantasy stats, we can chart out the different team personalities.  Those that can maximize the number of wins based on their ability and effort in the trenches are the ones fans (and coaches) love.  Those that “find a way to lose” are treated with contempt.  Based on Trench Fantasy points scored when winning and when losing, we can divide teams into four camps:

1.       Dominant in wins, lose close ones in the trenches

The Chargers are in this camp.  These are teams that have the ability to blow out teams and battle hard when it is close – but have a knack of losing when it’s close.  Other non-playoff teams that are in this camp are Cincinnati and Minnesota.  Playoff teams that are in this camp are the New York Jets, Green Bay, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh.  When you make the playoffs, it’s OK to lose a few close ones, because you won (and even dominated) enough times to make it to the top of the standings, and you did it in style.  At the same time, these are teams that, when they found themselves in tough trench battles during the regular season, they were beat, causing fans some nervousness.  Better hope that these teams simply dominate.

2.       Dominant in wins, beat up in losses

This is the Jeckyll/Hyde camp.  These are the teams that seem to win easily in the games they win – dominate even.  Then in the games they lose they roll over and die.  They get beat up bad.  “Where was that dominant team we saw a week ago?” fans and sportswriters are likely to ask.  Non-playoff teams in this zone are Oakland, the New York Giants, Jacksonville, San Francisco, and, yes, Carolina (who performed well in the trenches in their two victories, but got beat up in their 14 losses).  Playoff teams in this camp are Kansas City and Seattle.  Chief fans know what I’m talking about.  Some weeks they look unbeatable, other weeks they are beat up.  Seahawk fans know just how dominated they’ve been in the trenches all year, earning an average of only 23 Trench Fantasy points when losing.  But when they won, they showed some dominance, earning 197 points when winning (+18 compared to the average).  Jeckyll/Hyde indeed.  

3.        Win without dominating, hard-fought in losses

These are the teams that always seem to be in close battles, and sometimes they pull off the win, and sometimes they lose.  The good thing about these teams is that they always seem to fight hard.  The bad thing about these teams is that they never seem to be super-dominant, making for anxiety-filled Sundays.  Playoff teams that are in this camp are New Orleans, Baltimore, and Indianapolis.  It’s great that they are in the playoffs, but you know that they are going to be in tough battles throughout the playoffs.   Don’t expect your team to blow out the other team, but do expect them to find a way to win.  The teams in this camp that didn’t make the playoffs are Dallas, Miami, Cleveland, St. Louis, Detroit, and Houston.    These are teams that could score fairly decent trench fantasy points on an ongoing basis, but still lost too many times.  They rarely blew out the other team, nor were they blown out – but found themselves on the wrong end of the scoreboard.   These teams, like the Chargers, found ways to lose too many times.   Unlike the Chargers, they never showed dominance on both sides of the ball.

4.       Win without dominating, dominated in losses

This is the category that exemplifies teams that – unlike the Chargers – find a way to win (when they win).  They didn’t necessarily have the best trench effort, but often found their team liking what they see on the scoreboard at the end of the game.  These are lovable teams, perhaps even magical  – when they win.   If they do it a lot, then they are extremely lovable.  They “win ugly.”  Teams in this camp that made the playoffs are New England, Atlanta, and Chicago.  These teams didn’t necessarily dominate when they won, but, given the sheer number of victories they amassed, they have the “winning knack”, even with glaring weakness in the trenches.  In New England’s case, their defense gave up a lot of Trench Fantasy points, but it didn’t seem to matter.  14 wins for the Patriots is easier to remember. 

Yet people may still be surprised to find the Pats in this category, as they had some signature, dominant wins.  But on four occasions they actually lost in the trenches (against Baltimore, San Diego, Minnesota, and Green Bay), but still found ways to win the game.  And they did this three times in a row in the middle of the season.   In Atlanta’s case, their offense is ranked 10th in the trenches on offense, 18th on defense, but 5th on special teams.   With the consistent and high-ranked special teams play, they’re like the anti-Chargers.  Somehow they were able translate these middling trench numbers into lots of “W’s”.  In the case of Chicago, their offense was all-too-frequently unspectacular, ranking 30th, but their defense (5th) and special teams (6th) carried the load.  Their weakness on offense didn’t seem to matter, and they had a knack of winning lots of games, which eases any anxiety when it comes to lack of offense.    At the same time, when these teams lost, they tended to get beat pretty bad.  In New England’s two losses to the Jets and Cleveland, the Pats got beat bad.  But this happened so infrequently that it is easy to forget.   Funny how making the playoffs makes your forget the teams’ “personality weaknesses.”

The teams in this category that didn’t make the playoffs are Washington, Buffalo, Tennessee, Denver, Arizona, and Tampa Bay.  These are the teams that when they got beat – which was frequent – with the exception of Tampa Bay (more on that later) – they got beat bad.  But when they won, it was close, and most likely ugly.  They never dominated in the trenches, and perhaps even were beat in the trenches, but still pulled off victories.  The team that most exemplified “winning ugly” was Washington.  They got beat in the trenches a lot, but somehow managed to eke out 6 victories.  When they won, it was not through dominant trench play, but perhaps some other magical series of bounces that went their way.  On average, the Redskins earned only 107 Trench Fantasy points when winning, compared to the league average of 179 points.  (Note that San Diego averaged more points, 115, when losing.) Arizona, too, also had no business earning victories, but found a way to get 5 of them.  The Cardinals were the team that was routinely beat up when losing – averaging only 21 Trench Fantasy points when losing (compared to the league average of 78).  But when they were able to get remotely competitive, they seemed to pull off the victories – and they did this 5 times. 

Charting all of the teams according to personality

With this, we can now chart the teams according to personality, and just how “extreme” their personalities are.  The further the teams are to the outside of the chart, the more extreme the personality.  That is – they were either more dominant or less dominant in winning.  Or more competitive or totally dominated in losing.  Similarly, the closer to the center, the less extreme the personality of the team is.  On this chart, the larger the font size of the team, the more wins that team had.  Teams with lots of wins – and when making the playoffs (in orange) —  their personalities become more lovable – or magical — the further to the lower left you are on the chart (New England, Atlanta, and Chicago).  If your team didn’t make the playoffs, the further up and to the right on the chart you go, the more frustrating the team’s personality. That makes San Diego, Oakland, Miami, the New York Giants, and Dallas the most frustrating teams, with San Diego by far, the most frustrating.

Here’s the chart: (click for a larger image)

Tampa Bay was team with the least extreme personality – when they won, it was by about the average amount of dominance in the trenches.  When they lost, it was by about the average amount of being beat.  Fans just wish they were slightly better.  Maybe next year.   In the case of Dallas, you can see that they played very well in the trenches when losing, but lost a lot.  Perhaps a less extreme personality could do them some good?  The have the foundation, but need to find more “ways to win” next year.  Right next to them is New Orleans who has enough wins to make the playoffs, so the Saints’ tough losses are easy to forget, but it is easy to remember all of their tough wins.  Funny what winning does.

And if you’re a San Diego fan, this has got to be the most frustrating season ever.  Think about the damage they could have done in the playoffs.  They just need to not blow it enough times to make the playoffs, that’s all.  Our recommendation:  Improve on special teams.

Tim Tebow has a much tougher test against San Diego

This year, TrenchFantasy looks at some of the more favorable matchups for offensive lines against opposing defensive lines and secondaries as a way to help successful fantasy owners make smart roster decisions. Trench stats consider the unit’s overall performance, not individual blocking stats.

QBs with favorable trench matchups: Schaub (HOU), P. Manning (IND), Garrard (JAC), Rivers (SD), E. Manning (NYG), Kitna (DAL), Brady (NE), Flacco (BAL)

Week 17 provides many favorable matchups for top QBs and their O-Lines.  Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis O-Line Pass (ranked #1 by Trench Fantasy), have the biggest advantage.  They’re facing the rapidly declining Tennessee Defensive Secondary (ranked 25th).  For those who had given up on Peyton Manning a few weeks ago, this is a reminder that not only is he a great quarterback, but he also has a fantastic O-Line.

David Garrard has the benefit of playing behind one of the top O-Lines in the league.  This consistently provides him very favorable matchups.  This week is no exception, as the Jaguar O-Line Pass (ranked 9th) faces the dead-last Houston Defensive Secondary.

On the other side of the ball, Matt Schaub and the Houston O-Line Pass (ranked 5th) has a favorable matchup against the 31st-ranked Jacksonville Defensive Secondary.  Expect a lot of offense — and not much defense — in this game.

Jon Kitna has filled in nicely for Tony Romo, and one reason is that he’s being protected by the #3-ranked Cowboy O-Line Pass.  The result: Kitna has 16 TD passes since taking over.  They’re facing the middle-of-the road and suffering Philadelphia Defensive Secondary (ranked 19th).  Minnesota exposed this as an Eagle weakness on Tuesday night, so expect Dallas to try to do the same.

The Baltimore O-Line Pass is ranked 14th by Trench Fantasy, but they’re facing the 24th-ranked Cincinnati Defensive SecondaryJoe Flacco has quietly put together an efficient season, and with a favorable matchup like this he has the chance to go into the playoffs with some momentum.  That, and the Bengals rolled over against the Jets on the last game of the season last year.  So if history repeats, Joe Flacco will get some yards and TDs via the air.

QBs to sit because of bad trench matchups: Cutler (CHI), Fitzpatrick (BUF), Cassel (KC), any SF QB, Sanchez (NYJ), Clausen (CAR), Campbell (OAK), Tebow (DEN), Freeman (TB), Grossman (WAS), McCoy (CLE)

There are lots of unfavorable matchups for QBs and their O-Lines going into the final week of the season, but let’s talk Tim Tebow first.  He had a Tebow-esque game reminiscent of his college days against Houston in Week 16.   But that was against Houston, the lowest-ranked Defensive Secondary and the 29th-ranked Defensive Line.  This week is going to be tougher for Tebow.  His 13th-ranked Denver O-Line Pass faces the #1-ranked San Diego Defensive Secondary.  So for those interested in Tebow’s prospects as an NFL QB, watch this game closely to see the contrast!  If he can get some production, then he’s on his way.

Jay Cutler and the Chicago O-Line Pass may have had a big win against the Jets last week, but things aren’t getting any easier this week.  The Chicago O-Line Pass, ranked 29th by Trench Fantasy, are facing the #2-ranked Green Bay Defensive Secondary.  That equals a tough matchup!

Josh Freeman lit up the Seahawks’ Defensive Secondary in Week 16, but a note of caution.  Before we get too enthusiastic, remember that the Seahawks Defensive Secondary is ranked 27th by Trench Fantasy.  This week, Freeman and the 15th-ranked Tampa Bay O-Line Pass face the hungry, defending Super Bowl Champion and currently 4th-ranked New Orleans Defensive Secondary. This is a much tougher test against a Saints team that continues to have something to prove.

Running Backs with great trench matchups: JAC, NYJ, HOU, NYG, PHI, SD, KC

The Jaguars have the #1 ranked O-Line for running.  And they’re facing the 29th-ranked Houston Defensive Line.  We expect the ball to be in the hands of the Jaguar running backs a lot in this game.

On the other side of the ball, Houston’s O-Line Run (ranked 5th) has an advantage against the Jacksonville D-Line (ranked 27th) .  Given this advantage, we can expect to see the ball in the Houston running backs.  There should be running, passing with some more running and passing in this game of top offenses and woeful defenses.

The New York Jets have had some strange games as the season approaches its end.  One of the more consistent aspects of their game has been the Jets O-Line Run (ranked 4th). They’re facing the 31st-ranked Buffalo D-Line this week, so they should use this opportunity to tune-up their blocking for a bruising, ball-control style playoff run.

Running Backs with matchups to avoid: DEN, WAS, CHI, ARI, CLE, SEA, GB, DET, BUF, CAR, CIN

Many people have their hopes and dreams pinned to Tim Tebow’s abilities as a passer and a runner.  This week his Denver O-Line Run faces the 2nd-ranked San Diego Defensive Line. That is going to make running the ball tough for Tebow and his RBs.  That is – if San Diego keeps its collective head in the game.

In the game that determines the champion of the woeful NFC West, we see one significant mismatch – the Seattle O-Line Run (ranked 32nd) faces the 14th-ranked St. Louis Defensive Line.  Granted, the St. Louis D-Line is middle of the road, but this equals a tough matchup for the sorry Seahawk running game, and could prove to be the difference in this one.

Learn more about the trench matchups!  Trench Fantasy offers weekly in-depth matchups spreadsheet and a roster analyzer for free!  Examine ALL matchups for the week – including Special Teams – on our weekly Matchups and Mismatches spreadsheet.  You can also input your fantasy roster in our Start/Bench analyzer spreadsheet, and get start/bench recommendations based on trench stats for all your fantasy players.

Friend us at http://www.facebook.com/TrenchFantasy and you’ll get updates every week with this in-depth view of the trench matchups and start/bench recommendations based on trench stats.  Isn’t it time you looked at the game starting with the trenches?

Kitna and Hasselbeck have favorable matchups in the trenches this week

This year, TrenchFantasy looks at some of the more favorable matchups for offensive lines against opposing defensive lines and secondaries as a way to help successful fantasy owners make smart roster decisions. Trench stats consider the unit’s overall performance, not individual blocking stats.

QBs with favorable trench matchups: P. Manning (IND), Kitna (DAL), Rivers (SD), Ryan (ATL), Schaub (HOU), Hasselbeck (SEA)

Aaron Rodgers may be out this week, so fantasy players who have relied on his production will be scrambling to find a replacement QB.  In looking at the trench matchups, there are a few opportunities here.

Jon Kitna has filled in nicely for Tony Romo, and one reason is that he’s being protected by the #3-ranked Cowboy O-Line Pass.  Kitna has twice thrown for 3 TD passes in the 8 games he has started this year.  The Cowboys have an extremely favorable matchup this week against the 29th-ranked Redskin Defensive Secondary.

We haven’t seen many favorable matchups in the trenches this year for Matt Hasselbeck, but this week is an exception.  The 16th-ranked Seahawks’ O-Line Pass faces the 26th-ranked Falcons Defensive Secondary.     We are aware that the Falcons are 11-2, but it’s not because of their Defensive Secondary.  Opponents complete 65.8% of their passes against the Falcons and 233 yards per game via the pass.  Compare that to the 4-9 Arizona Cardinals’ 60.9% Opponents’ Pass Completion and 235 yards per game given up via the pass, and you have reason enough to take a chance on Hasselbeck and the Seahawk O-Line Pass at home.

For those who don’t have to replace Rodgers on their roster, the most favorable matchup this week belongs to Peyton Manning and the Colts’ O-Line Pass.  The Colts’ O-Line Pass is ranked #1 by Trench Fantasy and they face the 31st-ranked Jaguar Defensive Secondary.  That’s a big mismatch that should equal lots of throws for Manning when the Colts have the ball.

We also like the matchups in the trenches for other big name and highly productive QBs Rivers, Ryan and Schaub.

QBs to sit because of bad trench matchups: Smith (SF), Skelton (ARI), any QB from MIN, Sanchez (NYJ), Roethlisberger (PIT), Clausen (CAR), Fitzpatrick (BUF)

For those looking for a replacement for Aaron Rodgers, avoid these QBs, as they face some tough defenses:

Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh O-Line Pass (ranked 18th) face the 3rd-ranked New York Jets Defensive Secondary.  There’s a lot of talk about how the Jets have fallen, but keep in mind that their defense was spectacular against Miami in Week 14, and they still hold the advantage in the trenches when on defense against Pittsburgh.

On the other side of the ball, Mark Sanchez and the New York Jets’ O-Line Pass are trying to get on track, but they aren’t likely t to see much production via the pass this week.  The Jets’ O-Line Pass are ranked 30th by Trench Fantasy, and they’re facing the improving and 14th-ranked Pittsburgh Defensive Secondary.   Also keep in mind that Pittsburgh’s Defensive Line is ranked #1 by Trench Fantasy, so things are likely to still be tough for the Jets on Offense.

Alex Smith had a great game last week against Seattle (3 TDs, no INTs), so some might be tempted to pick him up.  Not so fast:  This week the 29th-ranked 49er O-Line Pass faces the #1-ranked San Diego Defensive Secondary.  The Seahawks’ D-Sec, in contrast, is ranked 27th.  So things are going to be much tougher this week for Smith.

Running Backs with great trench matchups: JAC, OAK, HOU, MIA, ATL, CLE, KC, DAL

Trench Fantasy ranks Jacksonville #1 for O-Line Run.  In Week 14 against the Raiders, the Jaguars had two 100-yard rushers.  This is a fantasy player’s dream O-Line!  Even better, Jaguars face the 30th-ranked Colt Defensive Line.  If you take into account that the Jaguars will do everything they can to keep the ball out of Manning’s hands, this could be another great game on the ground for the Jaguars.

Oakland has been off-and-on this year on the ground.  This week we anticipate it to be an “On” week.  The Raiders’ 9th-ranked O-Line Run faces the 31st-ranked (and demoralized) Bronco D-Line. Do you remember what the Raiders did to the Broncos in Week 7?  They ran – in Denver – for 328 yards!  This week they’re in Oakland.   They have the formula for victory – now let’s see them do it again.

Running Backs with matchups to avoid: CHI, SF, SEA, DEN, PIT, DET

Chicago hasn’t done much on the ground this year, and don’t expect them to start this week.  The Bears’ O-Line Run (ranked 29th) face the 8th-ranked Viking Defensive Line.

San Francisco may have blown out the Seahawks last week, but it wasn’t because of a good ground game.  They gained only 95 yards via the rush against the Seahawks.  And this week the 49er O-Line Run faces an extremely tough matchup against the 3rd-ranked Charger Defensive Line.  Philip Rivers may get a lot of press, but the San Diego Defense has been stellar this year, and the 49ers aren’t likely to reverse this trend.

Learn more about the trench matchups!  Trench Fantasy offers weekly in-depth matchups spreadsheet and a roster analyzer for free!  Examine ALL matchups for the week – including Special Teams – on our weekly Matchups and Mismatches spreadsheet.  You can also input your fantasy roster in our Start/Bench analyzer spreadsheet, and get start/bench recommendations based on trench stats for all your fantasy players.

Friend us at http://www.facebook.com/TrenchFantasy and you’ll get updates every week with this in-depth view of the trench matchups and start/bench recommendations based on trench stats.  Isn’t it time you looked at the game starting with the trenches?

This could be Joe Flacco’s week to finally cut loose

This year, TrenchFantasy looks at some of the more favorable matchups for offensive lines against opposing defensive lines and secondaries as a way to help successful fantasy owners make smart roster decisions. Trench stats consider the unit’s overall performance, not individual blocking stats.

QBs with favorable trench matchups: Vick (PHI), Rodgers (GB), Flacco (BAL), Brees (NO), P. Manning (IND), Orton (DEN), Kitna (DAL), Rivers (SD), E. Manning (NYG)

There are many favorably matchups in the trenches to choose from this week.  At Trench Fantasy, we like to see where the O-Lines stack up against defenses, and let fantasy players choose their skill players from there.

This week, we like the matchup the Eagles’ O-Line Pass (ranked 6th by Trench Fantasy) has against the Cowboys’ Defensive Secondary (ranked 30th by Trench Fantasy).  The Cowboys have struggled on defense all year, and fantasy players who have Michael Vick on their roster should expect him to move the ball down the field.

Aaron Rodgers and his 7th-ranked Packer O-Line Pass face the 29th-ranked Lions Defensive Secondary.  This is a great opportunity to see just how many fantasy points Rodgers is capable of, as this will be his most favorable matchup for the rest of the season.

The Ravens had a tough loss against the impenetrable Steeler Defense last week.  This week Joe Flacco and the Raven O-Line Pass (ranked 14th) have the advantage.  They face the highly porous Texan Defensive Secondary, who are ranked last by Trench Fantasy.  If there ever was a week for Flacco to get you some fantasy points, this is it.

Note: Those with Tom Brady on their roster are likely in the habit of starting him, and for good reason.   He completely dismantled the top-ranked Jets Defensive Secondary on Monday night.  At the same time, be aware that the Brady and the Patriots O-Line Pass (ranked 4th) face another tough test (or what should be a tough test) against the Bears’ Defensive Secondary (ranked 3rd).  If Brady does the same thing he did to the Jets in Chicago, watch out for the Patriots.

QBs to sit because of bad trench matchups: Cassel (KC), McNabb (WAS), Favre/Jackson (MIN), Sanchez (NYJ), Henne (MIA), Collins (TEN), any Lions QB

There are some big mismatches in the trenches this week, so read on to see where the warning signs are.

Some are big on Matt Cassel right now, but this could be a tough week for him.  The Chief O-Line Pass (ranked 19th) faces the #1-ranked Charger Defensive Secondary.  The Chiefs have a much better matchup running the ball, so we expect them to eat up yards and the clock rather than rely on this trench mismatch.

Donovan McNabb hasn’t had the protection needed to excel this year.  The Redskin O-Line Pass is ranked 24th, and they’re facing the 7th ranked Buccaneer Defensive Secondary.  It’s been a tough season on offense in Washington, and we don’t see it getting any better.

Mark Sanchez got schooled on Monday night, and that was against the 26th-ranked New England Defensive Secondary (who are rising through the rankings as we speak).  But this week he and the Jets’ O-Line Pass (ranked 27th) face the 14th-ranked Dolphin Defensive Secondary.  It is a winnable battle to be sure, but the Jets are going to have to get their act together to see any fantasy points via the air this week.

Running Backs with great trench matchups: PHI, OAK, ATL, TB, CLE, PIT,

The Cowboy Defensive Line (ranked 23rd by Trench Fantasy) has been a factor in generating the numerous Cowboy losses.  The Eagles’ running game, whether from Michael Vick or the RBs, hope to capitalize on this.  This would be a good week to start anyone on the Eagles and watch them chew up yards, as the Eagle O-Line Run, ranked 4th, should provide the blocks necessary to spring whoever has the ball.

The Raiders’ O-Line Run (ranked 8th) faces a Jaguar D-Line (ranked 24th) that has been pushed around this year.  This favorable matchup indicates that the Raiders are going to give their RBs the ball and see what they can get on the ground.  This is their best chance to dominate on offense.

The Atlanta running game has some good prospects this week!  The Falcon O-Line Run (ranked 7th) face the Carolina Defensive Line (ranked 22nd), so we should expect to see some carries by the Falcon RBs.  Then some throws by Matt Ryan.  Then some more carries by the Falcon RBs.  Then some throws by Matt Ryan.  Etc.

Running Backs with matchups to avoid: CIN, DET, SEA, WAS, CAR, MIA

If you’re looing for fantasy points from your RBs, look elsewhere.  The Panthers, Lions, Seahawks, Redskins, Panthers, and Dolphins all face mismatches in the Trenches this week.

For example, the New York Jets’ D-Line (now ranked 3rd) is going to be looking for someone to hit hard when they face the Dolphins O-Line Run (ranked 14th).

Learn more about the trench matchups!  Trench Fantasy offers weekly in-depth matchups spreadsheet and a roster analyzer for free!  Examine ALL matchups for the week – including Special Teams – on our weekly Matchups and Mismatches spreadsheet.  You can also input your fantasy roster in our Start/Bench analyzer spreadsheet, and get start/bench recommendations based on trench stats for all your fantasy players.

Friend us at http://www.facebook.com/TrenchFantasy and you’ll get updates every week with this in-depth view of the trench matchups and start/bench recommendations based on trench stats.  Isn’t it time you looked at the game starting with the trenches?

Top TRENCH Performers: WEEK 13


You can’t put the loss or the picks on the Colts O-Line.  They did what was asked of them: 20 passing 1st downs, 7.6 yards per attempt, 365 total yards in the air and 75% pass completion percentage are some pretty impressive numbers. Add to this zero, ZERO, sacks and only one QB hit and you have a line doing a solid job to give their QB the time and protection he needs to distribute the ball and get it to his receivers. Add to this the fact that the IND running game put up only 40 total yards, it was clear to all in the building that Manning was going to be throwing and yet the DAL D-Line couldn’t get there against the IND O-Line. This protection could get them into the playoffs just yet.


We’d like to welcome everyone to the Jacksonville party. The Jaguars have been near the top of our O-Line/Run rankings for while now and it seems like people have gotten over the ‘who’s the QB’ question to realize that the running game is solid and makes that question a bit easier to answer. MJD is a great back and so is C2K but the difference, this year, is what’s going on in front of them. The Jacksonville O-Line put up 258 rushing yards to the TEN O-Line’s 57. Really, JAX rushed for almost 5x the yards of TEN.  The Jaguars O-Line averaged 4.9 yards per carry, 16 of their 23 1st downs came from the ground game, had 53 rushing attempts and put the rock in MJD’s hands over 30 times!  And the final beautiful trench stat included is that JAX O-Line had four 10+ play drives and not a single 3&out all game. The JAX O-Line coach had to love this performance.


This was a dominant performance by the NYG D-Line in a 31-7 win over the Redskins. The G-man D-Line gave up only 74 rushing yards in the game with only one carry going for more than 20 yards.  They were solid at the line and putting pressure on WAS all day. In the end, they had 4 sacks, 10 QB hits, forced 6 punts and created 6 take-aways (4 fumble, 2 picks) in the day. The WAS offense was only able to get 5 1st downs on the ground in the game vs. the NY D-Line. If the NYG can get the same productivity out of their D-Sec, this team will be a force in the playoffs.


This was not what anyone expected out of this game but the outcome was what people anticipated. Against a pass-happy and capable Denver offense, the KC D-Sec put forward an effort that could carry them deep in the playoffs. The KC D-Sec limited Orton & Co to just 32% pass completion percentage (9-28) on 3.1 yards per attempt. Denver was only able to throw for 5 total 1st downs against the KC D-Sec and just 86 passing yards the entire game. The Chiefs D-Sec kept DEN WR’s out of the end-zone the entire day and allowed just one catch for over 20 yards (28) in this strange win over Denver. If you combine this D-Sec and the Run O-Line that the Chiefs have, it’s a pretty potent combination that will be tough to beat if they stay at this level.

http://www.TrenchFantasy.com is the only fantasy football game focusing 100% on the trench units, scoring them as a team versus individual, and looks at the key stats—1st downs, yds/rush, yds/att, 3&outs—in coming up with its Trench Rankings.


Get started with Trench Fantasy today!

Talk Trenches on Twitter

Get in The Trenches on Facebook!