Strength of Schedule Strikes Back

Written by Motts on May 21 2015

Father Dougall has written an update to his magnificent Strength of Schedule posts at the beginning of the year. This is awesome. 

It’s been 7 weeks and that means enough data to make at least some educated guesses about this season’s power rankings. And, with new power rankings, we can take another look at the schedule.

First and last Port Adelaide! No, I’m fibbing….
It was harder than I though to come up with the new rankings. There are a number of obvious ones but a lot of borderline ones. I had hopes to get them to sum up to -2, like the first set, but I ended up with a total of -1. I decided it was better to have that of than to mess up a team. If you disagree with any of the rankings you can adjust yourself by checking the schedule and adding or subtracting based on it.

The base method is the same as my previous article. Teams are rated from -2 (hard) to 2 (pushovers) and then each team gets a strength of schedule difficulty based on the total of their opponents rankings.

The Previous rankings

-2: Sydney Swans, Hawthorn, Geelong Cats, Fremantle

-1: Port Adelaide, North Melbourne

0: Essendon, Richmond, WC Eagles, Adelaide Crows, Collingwood, GC Suns

1: Carlton, Western Bulldogs, Brisbane Lions. GWS Giants

2: Melbourne, St. Kilda

The new rankings after Week 7

-2: Sydney Swans, Hawthorn, Fremantle

-1: WC Eagles, Adelaide Crows, Western Bulldogs

0: Essendon, Richmond, Collingwood, Geelong Cats, Port Adelaide, North Melbourne, GWS Giants

1: Melbourne, Brisbane Lions.

2: St. Kilda, Carlton, GC Suns

The -2s are obvious for Sydney and Fremantle. The Hawks could be argued as a -1 so far, but I wasn’t quite ready to move them down. The Western Bulldogs actually have a stronger case for being a -2 based on the season so far, since they schedule has been far harder, but I am not ready to move them to the same level as the Swans and Dockers.

Not much to say on the Crows and Eagles. I can imagine them going either way, more likely to fall the rise. Geelong have been bad enough I am putting them down to 0s, which fits with the overall performance of most of the other 0s. I had a version for this week that ended up with only three teams at 0 and that just looked silly, so I backed up and check what the 0 ranks from the beginning of the season looked like and moved marginal cases inwards from the extremes.

I can see both Port and North Melbourne moving back to -1 later on. The Giants are also closer to up than down. Collingwood is near to dropping to a +1. They have had an incredibly easy schedule so far, and done little with it. Melbourne and St. Kilda look the same from their records, but Melbourne has had a very hard schedule so far and St. Kilda a really easy one.

The Lions are much closer to being a +2 in my mind, but I’m not yet sure they are as bad as the other team at +2. I don’t they need much explanation.

Ranked by difficulty, because that is how my list has them:

Fremantle: Damn, what a season so far. A -3 doesn’t make sense, but they would get one if it did. And they have an easy schedule for the rest of the season. Nothing not to like. And Fyfe!

Sydney Swans: Another good team full of assets with an easy schedule. They play the Hawks twice, and not have no really hard matches other than that. I hope some of their players are still cheap after the bye.

Hawthorn: A lot of hard and easy games over the rest of the season, adding up to 1.

West Coast Eagles: They have had it a little easy so far; will have it a little easy until the bye and not so easy afterwards. (2, -4) Won’t stop me from taking a flyer on Yeo.

Crows: Very easy so far, and a little easy from now on. No reason to do anything either way from their schedule.

Western Bulldog: Wow, the team that made this worth doing. A big -6 to date and still they are 4-3 and doing pretty well. They have a 1 from their three games before their bye and a freaking huge +10 (!) after their bye. Meaning, bring in all the their players you might want to keep rounds 12 and 13, and enjoy the ride.

GWS Giants: Easy so far, pretty much easy the rest of the way.

Port Adelaide: Well, Port has had the schedule from hell so far, and they haven’t been a disaster. Since all their players who have done well have done it under terrible circumstances, I guess there is nothing to worry about bringing them in! Not the easiest rest of the season, what…?

North Melbourne: They have a rough -5 to the byes, and then a nice +5 afterwards. Not promising for their cows. Or any of their players. I’m wondering how Goldy will work out. Wasn’t planning to hold Tarrant long term anyways…..

Geelong: Well, darn, the cats are out of the bag. Or something. Lost their string? Despite my lack of a humorous phrase, they are really struggling. Since they did well last season they have a rough overall schedule. From now until their bye they are at a nice +2 but they have a -4 afterwards.

Essendon: Anything it takes…..won’t take much extra this season; the Bombers have a total of 1 for the rest of the season. Ought to let their players fly along at cruising altitude. I’ll probably want some in my hanger after their bye. Metaphorically.

Richmond: A -2 before the bye and -2 after. Blah. Sort of like the Bombers but with a hard schedule. And they have already been struggling.

St Kilda, Carlton, and the Suns: all have difficult season ahead. The Saints aren’t too bad up to their bye, so there is time for their players to go up, but I don’t think I want to bring in any more players from any of these teams. They are dead to me. I may have to keep the ones I have, but we shall see.

Extra on the Suns: Week 9-11 they play the Hawks, Swans, and Dockers, which I expect will put a hurting on their rookies. I’m planning to sell before week 9 if I can. Maybe 10 if the math means they can still go up with one bad score.

So, that’s pretty much it. The bad teams have hard scheduled, and the best teams have easy schedules. Oh, and the Bulldogs are on the Yellow Brick Road.

1 to 7 Before Bye After Bye Total

Sydney  -2 2 1 3

Hawthorn 0 2 -1 1

Fremantle -3 1 3 4

West Coast 2 2 -4 -2

Adelaide  4 0 2 2

Bulldogs -6 1 10 11

GWS  2 -1 3 2

Port  -7 2 -4 -2

North 2 -5 5 0

Geelong -4 2 -4 -2

Essendon -2 0 1 1

Richmond 3 -2 -2 -4

Collingwood 4 3 -5 -2

Melbourne -5 1 -3 -2

Brisbane 3 2 -5 -3

Gold Coast 2 -6 -2 -8

Carlton 2 -3 -3 -6

St. Kilda 2 -1 -5 -6


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9 thoughts on “Strength of Schedule Strikes Back”

  1. Love it Father D! Have been looking at Matty Boyd as a post-bye POD to end all PODs (currently in 0.4% of teams, averaging 101). This article makes a compelling case for that, just wish he had the M/D status that he probably should have and it would be a no-brainer.


  2. Oh, I just noticed, amidst the other typos, that I read North Melbourne wrong when I did the write up. They are -5 before but +5 after. (Not -5 after) So keeping their players past the bye, or bringing them in past the bye is a fine plan. I am actually thinking Tarrant may be a player I hold through his bye. I can trade all of them out between now and then……

    I really need to wait a day and reread these before submitting them. Or beg Motts to proofread for me……


  3. Nice work, FD!
    This was part of my reasoning for picking up Bont and Dahlhaus. If they’re performing well with their “tough” draw then hopefully it continues with their “soft” draw. At the very least, I’m hoping they can hold their averages. Only time will tell but I’m happy with their output till now. Plus Dahlhaus is only in around 5% of teams, decent POD………


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