Category: talent distribution


Evaluating QBs: Peyton Manning is a Better Playoff Quarterback than Tom Brady

February 3rd, 2013 — 2:27pm

Based on their respective records this might sound crazy. Brady has three rings, five total Super Bowl appearances, and a record 17 playoff victories. Manning on the other hand: a below .500 playoff record, just one Super Bowl ring, and a record eight “one-and-outs”. How could anybody in their right mind choose the latter over the former? It’s amazing what a little perspective can do. Let’s start from the beginning.

(If you haven’t read the first three parts of this series, they introduce and explain all of the concepts used here: Part I, Part II, and Part III.) Continue reading »

27 comments » | descriptive, Evaluating QBs Series, Football, offense versus defense, player evaluation, talent distribution, team evaluation

Evaluating QBs: The Truth Behind QB Records

February 1st, 2013 — 1:08am

*UPDATE: I’ve temporarily changed the blog theme so that the tables in this post will be sortable and searchable.*

With the tedious boring stuff out of the way (if you missed the boring parts, here is boring part 1 and part 2), it’s time for the payoff. I’ll post some results and comment on some of the more interesting findings.

First, the caveats, the fine print. All games from 2000-2012 are included, regular season is assumed unless otherwise noted. From last post, we defined the “QB of record” for each game; that is instead of the starting QB we’ll use the QB who had the most dropbacks for his team in each game (dropbacks = pass attempts + sacks). Again from the previous posts, we defined different phases of the game, which we’ll measure by Expected Points Added (EPA)–despite having my own expected points model, I decided to borrow Brian Burke’s more well-known EP model for this series. Those phases are defense, special teams and offense; most of the time here we’ll be dividing offense into two parts: QB EPA, which are plays where the QB is the passer or rusher, and Non-QB EPA which is all other offensive plays. While part 1 showed that QBs have control over QB EPA but little to no influence over Non-QB EPA, Defensive EPA, or Special Teams EPA that should not be confused with QBs having all control over QB EPA. While that is heavily influenced by the quarterback, receivers, lineman, running backs, the opposing defense, etc. all have some impact as well on these plays.

With the disclaimers out of the way, let’s dive right in. Continue reading »

Comment » | descriptive, Evaluating QBs Series, Football, offense versus defense, player evaluation, talent distribution, team evaluation

Evaluating QBs: It’s All About Context

January 31st, 2013 — 12:13am

In part 1 of my Evaluating QBs series, we looked at what makes teams win and which of those things quarterbacks have control over. While wins can be useful to separate quarterbacks, that is only because they are correlated with the underlying factors that explain wins. Once we separate out and control for those factors, QB wins provide no further information.

Now that we have shown that QBs have some control over the plays they are directly involved in but no influence over other facets of the game–defense, special teams, and other offensive plays–we can now look at how many wins we’d expect each player to have based only on what they have control over.

We can get at this two ways: directly and indirectly. The direct way is to look at how often quarterbacks win based on their EPA (again, using Brian Burke’s Expected Points from Advanced NFL Stats). The indirect way is to look at how often quarterbacks win based on the EPA of everything else, what I’ll call “support”. That is, the sum of the EPA of the quarterback’s team defense, special teams, and non-QB offensive EPA. Continue reading »

2 comments » | descriptive, Evaluating QBs Series, Football, offense versus defense, player evaluation, talent distribution, team evaluation

Evaluating QBs: Why Not Wins?

January 27th, 2013 — 12:35am

Full disclosure: I’m a Peyton Manning fan. If you can’t get past that, stop reading now. Still there? Good, welcome.

Following the Broncos recent loss to the Ravens (and the subsequent Patriots loss), there has been a new wave of the old Manning vs. Brady argument. Clutch vs. choke. Winner vs. can’t-win-the-big-one. Add in another playoff loss for Matt Ryan and a couple big wins for Joe Flacco, and the debate is raging like never before.

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably at least touched on the subject this January. I have. The debate always seems to deteriorate into emotional arguments filled with snarky retorts and anecdotal “evidence”. Tuck Rule game is countered with the Helmet Catch. The Flacco Prayer is answered with the Tracy Porter pick six. And on and on. And on. Every quarterback has been lucky, and every quarterback has been unlucky. Everyone can bring up some argument to support their claim. Without looking at the entire picture, we’ll never reach a valid conclusion. There has to be a better way.

A Clean Slate Continue reading »

Comment » | descriptive, Evaluating QBs Series, Football, offense versus defense, player evaluation, predictive, talent distribution, team evaluation

The Importance of Seeding

February 23rd, 2012 — 7:34pm

This post was a 2-part guest post at TeamRankings.com. Here are Part 1 and Part 2.

With a month left in the season, most of college basketball is focused on who’s in and out of the tournament. Those teams near the cut line are on the Bubble, while teams that are securely in the tournament are Locks with little worry of falling out of the bracket and seemingly little left to gain with their dance cards punched.

Turns out, there’s still plenty to play for, especially at the top. As every fan knows, the NCAA Tournament is seeded from 1 to 16 in four separate regions. The top seeds are rewarded by being placed at locations close to home, protected from a home-crowd disadvantage, and–most importantly–pitted against easier opponents. That last point is even more pronounced than one might expect. Obviously every team wants to move up a seed line, but the importance of climbing each rung of the seeding ladder might surprise. Continue reading »

Comment » | College Basketball, March Madness, predictive, talent distribution, team evaluation

What do QBs control?

July 2nd, 2011 — 4:42pm

*UPDATE: Dan in the comments correctly points out that the numbers I listed are actually double what they should be. All the attempt numbers should be cut in half. Thanks, Dan.*

On September 7, 2008, rookie Matt Ryan made his debut, launching a 62-yard touchdown strike to Michael Jenkins on his first ever NFL pass. It was quite the start for the 3rd overall pick, but while the future was bright for the young signal-caller, nobody expected him to average 62 yards per attempt. He would most certainly come back to earth.

So we can all agree that one pass attempt is not enough data to draw conclusions about a player’s true ability. In his debut, Ryan went on to complete 9 of his 13 passes (69.2%) without an interception; in his second start, he completed just 39.4% of his passes with no TDs and 2 INTs. Again, most of us will accept that a game or two is still too small of a sample. So, what is the point at which we can start to accept the results as indicative of a player’s true talent?

Continue reading »

9 comments » | Football, player evaluation, talent distribution

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