Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Advanced statistics: Getting too advanced?

Baseball gurus have been using advanced statistics for years, as popularized by Bill James.  Football guys are using them too, now!  Here's a little introduction to the stats you need to know:

Football Outsiders uses a statistic called DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average), which gives a rating to a player as compared to a league-average quarterback in similar game situations.  This stat shows that Derek Anderson is actually performing worse than traditional stats would indicate, and that Peyton Hillis and BenJarvus Green-Ellis are top-five running backs while Maurice Jones-Drew, Frank Gore, Steven Jackson, and Chris Johnson are outside the top 20.

The San Diego Chargers lead the league in GWP (Generic Win Probability), the probability a team would beat a league-average team on a neutral site, at 0.81, according to  They also have the second-lowest opponents' GWP, 0.42, which can be used as a proxy for strength of schedule.  So this means that the Chargers' 4-5 record represents an event that had a 1.6 percent chance of occurring, assuming that GWP could be applied equally to each game.  I'm not so sure I'm buying that stat.

Here's some stats you SHOULD buy:

Who leads the league in RsYPL (rush yards per letter)? 
Ray Rice, with a whopping 86.6 YPL (the average YPL of backs with 100+ carries is a measly 52.9).  He's on pace to see a bit of a dropoff from last year's 191.3, which led the league.

How about RcYPL (receiving yards per letter)?
Roddy White, with a 79.6 YPL.  He left this past week's game with an injury, but he's still on pace to just barely beat Wes Welker's mark of 149.8 from last season.

(In case you were wondering, the all-time single season record for RsYPL is Jamal Lewis' 206.6 in 2003, and the RcYPL record is held by Joe Horn's 2004 effort of 199.9)

Not surprisingly, Troy Polamalu leads the league in tackles per insured hairdo, with 32.  Granted, no one is within 32 of him.

Seyi Ajirotutu, only in the public consciousness for the past two weeks, already leads the league in mispronunciations at 1.6 million (estimates as of midnight last night).  He may have a tough time holding onto the title, though, if Michael Hoomanawanui has a breakout second half.

At the start of the year, the Jaguars led the league in Smiths with four.  They're down to one, and yet no one seems to care about this Smithocide....

You may already be aware of this, but Chad Ochocinco has an RSPT (reality shows per touchdown) of 1.5.  This would be alarming if he were leading the league, but Dhani Jones currently leads the league with an RSPT of infinity.

I lead this blog in awesomeness. :)

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