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Intermediate NFL DFS: Position vs. defense stats

We continue our breakdown of NFL DFS. In this section, we look at position vs. defense stats, with definitions and some basic strategy.

Wild Card Round - Tennessee Titans v New England Patriots Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

In daily fantasy football, like in most things, getting the fundamentals down is integral toward laying a foundation of knowledge to build from as you progress as a player. For DFS, that means understanding how position vs. defense stats plays into your DFS strategy.

Position vs. defense stats


Position vs. defense stats show us offensive statistics a team’s defense has allowed to quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends and D/STs.


The NFL is more statistically random compared to other sports for DFS due to fewer games played. Comparing NFL’s 16 games to baseball’s 162 games or the NBA’s 7=82 games leaves the NFL lacking when it comes to predictive statistics. That means that we often can’t rely on any given statistic to be the end all and be all, but that also means we need to look at as many statistics as possible to help us gain some perspective.

Position vs. defense stats are often without context and aren’t statistically predictive over the long term, but if you stick with efficiency statistics over counting statistics, you’ll be on the right track.

Passing game

Yards per route/target allowed

Pro Football Focus is a pay site, but their defense vs. position statistics are some of the best. You can look at specific defensive players or teams to see how they perform in efficiency stats like yards per target and route allowed. Looking at the extremes of these two statistics is a great way to find strong or weak matchups for quarterbacks and receivers.

Running game

Yards per carry

The running game is more matchup dependent than the passing game, so finding favorable matchups is more important. Yards per rushing attempt isn’t a great statistic for judging running backs but I still like it for looking at extremes. Last season, the Buccaneers led the league in yards allowed per rush while the Panthers ranked last and if you played running backs against the Panthers in 2019, you did well.