Division Difficulty

A new season means NEW DIVISIONS! As we saw last year, divisions can have a pretty big impact on the playoff field since, with our schedules, division teams play each other twice each season.

In other words, who is in your division matters, and the division draft has the potential to really benefit — or bone — your playoff chances.

Let’s take a look at how each division breaks down and then try to rank them based on difficulty.

Method

What we’ll do is first look at each division and try to determine how strong it forecasts to be. There are a couple of factors we’ll look at:

  • FantasyPros rank — these are based on projected starting rosters based on aggregated rankings, so they should be decent at reflecting team strength
  • The number of picks each team would have in each of the first 5 rounds if these were redraft (this year only) rosters — this is a reflection of how good a team should be if we were just playing for this year
  • The projected number of top 12 players at each position — also known as QB/RB/WR/TE etc 1’s, this is the number of guys in each division projected to be the top at their positions. It is weighted by how many can be started at each position
  • The number of top 168 players — what division will have the highest number of projected top players overall

The Wet Blankets

Captain: Hallan + Lederer

Teams: Bartell, Marino, Sarlo + Hark

Average Fantasy Pros Rank: 6.75 (T-2nd)

First Round Picks: 4 (T-2nd)

Second Round Picks: 2 (3rd)

Third Round Picks: 4 (T-1st)

Fourth Round Picks: 1 (3rd)

Fifth Round Picks: 3 (2nd)

QB1s: 2 (3rd)

RB1s: 3 (3rd)

WR1s: 2 (3rd)

TE1s: 3 (3rd)

DL1s: 3 (3rd)

LB1s: 5 (1st)

DB1s: 1 (3rd)

Top 168 Players: 47 (2nd)

Overview: Did Hallahan and Scott pick another cake division? Boasting 3rds almost across the board at every position projection and only 14 players drafted in the first 5 rounds of most redraft leagues, this division looks prime for sending another one-and-done playoff team to the post season.

The Donald Trump Supporters

Captain: Falcone + Black

Teams: Martino, Altbaum + Altbaum, Bryan

Average Fantasy Pros Rank: 6 (1st)

First Round Picks: 5 (1st)

Second Round Picks: 6 (1st)

Third Round Picks: 3 (3rd)

Fourth Round Picks: 5 (2nd)

Fifth Round Picks: 2 (3rd)

QB1s: 5 (T-1st)

RB1s: 4 (T-1st)

WR1s: 6 (1st)

TE1s: 4 (2nd)

DL1s: 5 (1st)

LB1s: 2 (3rd)

DB1s: 3 (1st)

Top 168 Players: 56 (1st)

Overview: We’re starting to see an interesting trend here. The first division has 3 of the same teams and swapped out Brett. This second division is the same — they swapped out Calhoun for the Altbaums. And while last year it was Cleve and Calhoun beating up on each other to get to the playoffs, this year it looks like it will be Falcone and Cleve, which means I can’t imagine the Altbaums, who have a fairly strong team themselves, can be too thrilled about being caught in this very rough situation.

Division By Proxy

Captain: Mealey + Davis

Teams: Poulton + Milstead, Galante, Calhoun

Average Fantasy Pros Rank: 6.75 (T-2nd)

First Round Picks: 4 (T-2nd)

Second Round Picks: 3 (2nd)

Third Round Picks: 4 (T-1st)

Fourth Round Picks: 6 (1st)

Fifth Round Picks: 5 (1st)

QB1s: 5 (T-1st)

RB1s: 4 (T-1st)

WR1s: 4 (3rd2nd)

TE1s: 5 (1st)

DL1s: 4 (2nd)

LB1s: 4 (2nd)

DB1s: 3 (1st)

Top 168 Players: 45 (3rd)

Overview: Division by Proxy is going to be one to watch this year. At first glance, Calhoun looks set for a much easier road to a bye — none of the teams they’ll face seem to come close to what the reigning champ’s team looked like in 2015.

However, all 3 teams not belonging to Calhoun seem capable of winning any given week. FantasyPros aside, I’m not entirely convinced I can pick out the second best team in the division (though I still feel confident about my pick for Mealey as a surprise playoff team).

What this means is, barring some crazy turn of events, the entire division could be fighting for a playoff spot, which means it’s going to be difficult to gauge for teams whether they should try and push for a playoff spot or sell. It sounds stressful, but it’ll be fun for the rest of us to watch!


So after looking at everything, I have to rank the divisions based on difficult as:

  1. The Donald Trump Supporters — 3 very strong teams are going to make for a bad year for Martino who would probably fare better in either of the other divisions (and maybe push for a playoff spot).
  2. Division by Proxy — One monster amongst a field of wildcard hopefuls. It’ll be like a live version of that hypothetical, “how many 5 year olds can I take in a fight?” My guess is Calhoun’s answer is, “all of them”.
  3. The Wet Blankets — The weakest division across the board. Hallahan sure knows how to pick ’em; hopefully this year he figures out how to actually beat them.