Garbage time in football occurs when a defense starts playing more conservatively due to holding a large lead. This gives their opponents the opportunity to earn some easy yards.
The opposing team will often get yards and touchdowns noticeably easier than they have throughout the game. This results in inflated stats often causing big implications in Fantasy Football.
Garbage time has a large effect on teams playing in a negative game script.
Why does garbage time improve players’ stats?
The main reason that garbage time allows players to boost up their stats is because of prevent defense. In short, prevent defense allows for short plays to happen in order to stop deep passes.
This sort of defense prioritizes stopping long touchdowns. When winning by a large amount the only way for the other team to come back is for them to score quickly.
A sure-fire way to stop this is to allow them the short to mid-range plays but stop the long ones. This kills some time and also stops the other team from scoring early in the drive.
By allowing the opposing team to complete short passes and tackling them inbounds the defense will be able to keep the clock running. The defense is essentially trading small amounts of yardage for reduced time on the game clock.
This means quarterbacks will line up and fire off passes of five to ten yards quickly. Since there is no coverage of these short passes they are easily completed. This increases the QB’s yardage total and completion percentage.
Another reason it is easier to score in these scenarios is effort. Players on defense play much harder when they need to stop the other team. Once the game is a foregone conclusion they will not be putting their bodies on the line.
Finally, in garbage time you may notice a large number of backups playing in the defense. These players would not get playing time if it were a close game.
The defense will use this time to game experience for players that do not often see the field. This benefits these backups as they will get more playing time while also ensuring your starters do not get hurt while playing in a game that has already been decided.
Do Garbage Time Stats Count?
Yes, garbage time stats count just as much as any other time during the game. This is the primary issue with garbage time in football. Often, the defense can completely shut down an offense only for them to score a few garbage touchdowns.
Garbage time affects many different football statistics. Not only are quarterbacks and their receivers getting yards but the opposing defense is having yards put against them.
When measuring the success of a defense throughout a season it is typically total yards allowed per game or points per game that is used to rank the defenses. Both of these statistics are affected by garbage time.
Though it is not a serious issue game garbage time can certainly muddy the waters of football statistics.
How does it affect Fantasy Football?
Garbage time has great effects on fantasy football as it affects the game script. The game script is a term that refers to how coaches call plays based on what’s happening in the game.
For example, if a team is down twenty points early in the game they will likely throw the ball a lot going forward. This would be an example of the game script going poorly for the running back.
When it comes to garbage time it is advantageous to have a quarterback or receiver that will play a lot of it on your fantasy team. An example of this could be the Atlanta Falcons. This team has a great passing attack but they also have a tendency to be down late in games.
This means this team’s quarterback and receivers are more likely to benefit from this time compared to others.
Taking garbage time into account in fantasy shouldn’t make or break a player but it should give you another variable you can measure when looking at a player.