FPA ratings can help you succeed in 2010 drafts

From cheat sheets to depth charts, magazines and more, fantasy footballers are looking for any edge on draft day.

One of the more recent tools to help in that quest are fantasy points allowed (FPA) ratings. Basically, the FPA rating is a statistical look at how an NFL team performed against each of the six major fantasy positions (quarterback, running back, wide receiver, tight end, kicker, defense/special teams). Using a Rotisserie-style formula, we’ve created a fantasy-focused rating for every team in 2010.

Each defensive unit was assigned a point value per position from 1-32, based on how it performed last season. Since the Lions gave up the most fantasy points (22.5 PPG) to quarterbacks last season, each signal-caller facing them received one point. If a quarterback plays the Jets, who surrendered the fewest points (10.1 PPG), he received 32 points. The lower the point total, the easier the schedule and the better the FPA rating.

Let’s take a more in-depth look at the formula, using Aaron Rodgers and his 2010 opponents. The top quarterback in fantasy football is slated to play the Bears (2), Lions (2), Vikings (2), Cowboys, Eagles, Giants, Redskins, Bills, Patriots, Dolphins, Jets, 49ers and Falcons – five of those teams finished in the top 10 in terms of allowing the most fantasy points to quarterbacks. Included in his schedule is two games against the Vikings. While their defense finished in the top 10 against the pass last season, the Vikings actually allowed the 11th-most points to quarterbacks because they surrendered 34 touchdown passes.

Remember, defensive ratings are based on yards allowed, not touchdowns. And in fantasy, it’s all about those visits to the end zone.

All told, Rodgers will play nine games against defenses that finished in the top 11 in terms of allowing the most fantasy points to signal-callers. His combined Rotisserie point total is 212, the second-lowest at his position. Only Donovan McNabb has a better rating among quarterbacks based on our criteria.

That doesn’t mean you should take McNabb as your No. 1 fantasy quarterback, but it certainly makes him more attractive. The FPA rating also makes Rodgers well worth a first-round selection on draft day.

Of course, we all know that there is no fool-proof way to figure out which fantasy players will succeed and which ones will fail. Rosters and coaching personnel will change, defenses will improve or falter from one season to the next, and the unpredictable nature of the NFL will continue to frustrate and excite us.

But these FPA ratings can still be very useful when picking between players with similar value and looking for those ever-elusive sleepers that can help lead you to that ultimate goal – a fantasy championship.

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