OWL by the numbers: Where the Shanghai Dragons went wrong

What happened to the Dragons? We try to answer that with numbers. Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

The second week of the Overwatch League came and went with few surprises. The Top 3 teams from the first week got comfortable wins again and all sit at 4-0 through the league's first two weeks. However, this week's stats recap is going to focus on the bottom of the standings, specifically the league's worst team.

So, about those Dragons...

ESPN's Tyler Erzberger was pretty clear in his Power Rankings just before the season: the Dragons are not good and were not expected to be good, despite China having the world's top seed at the 2017 Overwatch World Cup and the country providing the world's largest player pool to pick from.

What sticks out is the gap between Shanghai and the rest of the league. Aside from the much-maligned Dallas Fuel, which has a number of problems at the moment, the Dragons are over twice as bad as any team in the league by point differential. Shanghai has been outscored by 21 points through four matches (5.3 per match).

Perhaps the best way to frame the Dragons' misfortune thus far is to look at their match against the Mayhem, the third 0-4 sweep Shanghai has suffered this season. Prior to its match with the Dragons, the Mayhem had a minus-15 point differential and had lost all three of its matches by five points, including getting shut out on its first three control maps.

Against Shanghai, Florida did the exact opposite, sweeping control 2-0 and winning the match overall by five points.

So what has made the Dragons so bad? Our friends at Winston's Lab provide some insight. Ultimately the answers lie in support, where the Dragons might be the weakest squad in the league.

Let's look at the top three teams in the standings (Dynasty, Spitfire, Excelsior). The Dynasty have Je-hong "ryujehong" Ryu and Jin-mo "tobi" Yang, who according to Winston's Lab have put up 1,000 player ratings or better in each of their eight combined matches. The same can be said of the Excelsior's Yeon-joon "ArK" Hong and Sung-hyeon "JJoNak" Bang. London might have one of the best under-the-radar performers in Seung-tae "Bdosin" Choi, who owns an 1,100 rating or better in all four of his appearances.

It would appear that success in the Overwatch League begins with the backline, and Shanghai's back line has struggled significantly. The improvement will first need to come from Peixuan "Freefeel" Xu, whose Zenyatta might be the worst-performing character among the regular starters in the league. On Zenyatta, Freefeel's best performance this season was in his opening match against the Gladiators, when his player rating was an 837, according to Winston's Lab. Among the 18 players qualified to have a rating on Zenyatta, Freefeel's rating is second worst in the Overwatch League.

The week ahead

One of the first matches of Week 3 features the league's worst team by point differential (Shanghai - minus-21) against its best (Seoul - plus-19). Statistically speaking, this match also features arguably the league's best offensive support against that ailing Dragons backline. Ryujehong has at least 15 kills in each of his matches this season, including a season-high 29 in his most recent match, according to Winston's Lab. For Shanghai to improve, it will start with being able to successfully contain ryujehong and tobi on Seoul's back line.