Analyzing fantasy football trends to pre-empt upswings in performance is difficult to say the least. We have no crystal ball; if we did we’d all be at the top of our game. But, in essence that’s what makes fantasy football so enthralling.
Monitoring trends and spikes in performance whether it is for a player or an entire franchise is imperative to foresee any openings to get the most from drafts or roster changes. That’s why research is key when it comes to fantasy football – nobody ever won a fantasy football league through being lucky week-in-week-out.
Which brings us on to an interesting trend that has become apparent in NFL over the last 9 years since the league made a commitment to play games at Wembley Stadium in the UK. The aforementioned outdoor stadium holds a staggering 90,000 people and is revered across the world as one of soccer’s most celebrated arenas.
In 2007, the Miami Dolphins and New York Giants made the trip across the Atlantic. And for the succeeding years, so did many other NFL teams. After several seasons a pattern started to occur. Teams that played at Wembley Stadium started to see an improvement in their overall form once they’d returned to the US. Why? We are not quite sure, but let’s talk you through the various examples.
In 2008, New Orleans Saints saw an upswing in form, as did Chicago Bears the following season. In 2012, the New England Patriots went on to win their next 5 games after their Wembley bow and their opponents that day the St. Louis Rams fortunes also changed – only losing 1 out of the next 5 games.
The trend didn’t stop there either. In 2013 all of the 4 teams to play in London had dramatic upturns in form including the Jacksonville Jaguars, San Francisco 49ers, Minnesota Vikings and the Pittsburg Steelers. And it’s continued into recent times too which can be seen on the infographic below by news portal Bwin.
If fantasy footballers have anything about them, they’ll look to draft players from the Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars, Detroit Lions and Kansas City Chief soon – all of which have recently played Wembley Stadium this season.
So, what is the “Post-Wembley Wave”?
It’s very simple really. It categorizes the improved performance of a team over the next 5 games after they have returned from playing a fixture at Wembley Stadium. The succeeding 5 games are then compared to the franchise’s 5 games before they played at Wembley. For 15 out of the 22 cases, teams have experienced an upswing in form, which was labeled the “Post-Wembley Wave” by a sports journalist and analyst. Now, why it has such a dramatic effect on a team’s performance is unclear. If anything you’d think it could hamper a team’s preparation, induce fatigue due to jetlag, alter focus, and the list goes on. But, it seems to have the opposite effect and instill a renewed sense of vigor and focus to even the failing teams.
With all this in mind, franchises could well be hoping they are the next in line to play at Wembley the next time the NFL stops off in England’s capital city. And for fantasy footballers, monitoring this trend and planning ahead is a must as it could just give you the advantage you need in the long run to prevail.
Have you seen anything similar to the “Post-Wembley Wave” before?
This article was written by NFL fan Dave Donaldson.