The Early Success of the NFL Data Consultants Win Rating System

Braden Abshire of NFL Data Consultants finished development of a rating system similar to the QB Rating and ESPN’s QBR rating systems. The NDC Win Rating system was superior by about 3% on ESPN’s QBR and 8.5% on the NFL’s QB Rating. It was also superior when compared to some other variations of rating systems out there. It tested at over 96% in the test set, and was validated at over 88% when tested on over 3200 NFL Games.

The NDC Win Rating system provides a rating for each side of the ball, and then the differential is the final team rating. In the NFL, 10 of the top 11 teams made the playoffs. The lone team to miss from that group was the Buffalo Bills, who finished ranked #9 in the NDC Win Rating and had 9 wins on the season.

The NDC Win Rating System is a useful tool in other areas. It can be a beneficial tool for strategy, gameplanning, and decisions. It can also identify under the radar coaches at the NFL or NCAA levels. This is a useful tool for NFL organizations and NCAA schools that want to interview rising candidates in the coaching ranks. Please note that this is only a tool as the selection of a coach also depends on organizational fit, but it can help determine the coaches that are worth talking to in order to determine fit with your football organization or program.

In following how the NDC Win Rating system would work at the College Football Level, the results have been incredibly strong with the NDC Win Rating system. The top 7 teams using seasonal ratings all won their bowl games, and teams #8, #9, and #10 all lost to top 7 teams. Ohio State was #1 and Oregon #3 heading into the games. Oregon has a large gulf between their offensive and defensive ratings, finishing #1 in offense, #54 in defense thus creating a gulf score of 53. Ohio State is #3 in offense, #8 in defense with a gulf score of 5. Like standard deviations, this suggests that Ohio State is more consistent, but it also suggests that Oregon has more pressure to hold their offensive rating or to significantly lift the defensive rating in the upcoming game.

Oregon entered the game with a +26.58 rating differential over Florida State. In the game itself, Oregon finished +35.67. Ohio State entered the game with a +17.16 differential advantage on Alabama for the season. In the game itself, Ohio was +12.67 over Alabama. At halftime Ohio State was +18.66 despite being down by a point. Please feel free to follow NFL Data Consultants on Twitter.

NFL Data Consultants is looking for a sponsor for the NDC Win Rating System. Please contact me if you are interested.

Protected: Are The Dallas Cowboys Tipping Their Plays?

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Protected: Wide Receiver Arbitrage Remains

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The Dallas Cowboys Linebacker Situation: Sean Lee, Anthony Hitchens, Justin Durant, and Rolando McClain

When the Dallas Cowboys drafted LB Anthony Hitchens out of Iowa in the 4th round, the draftniks blasted the team because they felt he should have been a late round pick or undrafted. As a football analyst, I like to highlight observations and provide analysis that goes beyond an eyes only approach to demonstrate the type of benefit that I bring to the table.

While the draft community bashed the selection, I decided to run some comparative analysis on about 1200 LBs. What was uncovered is critical to how the Cowboys can look at their situation at linebacker. Anthony Hitchens compared to 3 other linebackers that have played a hybrid of inside and outside with better success on the inside; this includes Curtis Lofton, Erin Henderson, and Desmond Bishop. Every one of them has started NFL games and been a starter for a season or more. This demonstrated two things that the Dallas Cowboys did right with their personnel. First, selecting him in the 4th round is warranted with his comparatives. Second, the coaches moving him inside will help facilitate getting the most out of Anthony Hitchens.

Since the Sean Lee injury, the Dallas Cowboys have both tried moving Justin Durant (more optimal to leave at WLB) to the middle and trading for a LB that has retired more than once in Rolando McClain. The Cowboys seem to be reluctant at their own success at finding a gem at linebacker. While many may not always have an understanding of analytics, being able to trust in the concept will be in an organization’s favor for the long term. Using NFL Data Consultants analytical system, Anthony Hitchens profiles as a starting linebacker that would have his best success in the middle.

Review Series: Comparing Montee Ball To LeSean McCoy

When NFL Data Consultants used a comparison of Montee Ball to LeSean McCoy in the opening of a series of projections last summer, it was done for three purposes.

  • It was to highlight the power of analytics and forecasting of personnel in a billion dollar industry. Rookie deals are the best salary cap bargains so why not devote resources to player forecasts as an additional decision tool?
  • It was to compare to others using an analytical approach. Montee Ball was heavily attacked on other analytical players. He was repeatedly stated to be too slow or just another Wisconsion RB. With NFL Data Consulants rules/methodology/metrics, these were able to be dispelled. Montee Ball had 50 less carries than Gio Bernard and had just as many 20+ yard runs and 1 more 40+ yard runs. Montee Ball had an amazing 29.2% of his carries go for a first down. That was better than Eddie Lacy, Le’Veon Bell, Zac Stacy, Giovanni Bernard, and Andre Ellington. The objective of the game is to win and moving the chains is critical.
  • It was also put out there to be graded and reviewed because we name this project “The Win Project”. That is why NFL Data Consultants measures and compares and grades ourselves. It is just the tip of the iceberg of the ideas that NFL Data Consultants has in store for an organization that fully embraces this approach and is willing to commit to a team to carry the more advanced ideas out.

Graphed below is first 120 carries of Montee Ball compared to the first 123 carries of LeSean McCoy. This does not factor in age, but Montee Ball’s 2nd half jump correlates with the jump that LeSean McCoy saw in his 2nd year. Montee Ball is a little older than what LeSean McCoy was during his rookie season. McCoy averaged 4.11 ypc as a rookie, and then it jumped to 5.22 yards per carry in his second season. After his first 120 attempts, McCoy topped out at career average of 4.98 ypc at just past 525 carries at 23.33 years old. McCoy’s surge began near 140 carries in and continued until around that 525 mark. Montee Ball’s last regular season game was at 23.07 years old and he sits at 4.66 and averaged over 6 yards per carry over his last 6 regular season games. Montee Ball is still trending up after a slower start, but was clearly the better runner in the Denver Broncos backfield. Knowshon Moreno averaged 4.31 ypc and had only a 22% first down percentage.

Montee Ball versus LeSean McCoy

Review Series: NFL Data Consultants Comparison of Montee Ball to LeSean McCoy

If you are an organization seeking to draft a RB, this type of projection analysis can work as a tool for your decision makers. NFL Data Consultants uses enough metrics to fill an NCAA tournament bracket for RBs.

If you are an organization considering an early round Quarterback, this article on the odds of selecting a franchise Quarterback is worth the quick read.