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.

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.

The Odds Are Stacked Against NFL Organizations Drafting A Franchise QB In The First Round

If you are in need of a Quarterback, it is important to understand whether the ones that fit your system are capable of consistently winning at the next level. The sad nature of the NFL is that if you don’t have a reliable Quarterback, your job will always be in jeopardy. Under 20% of Quarterbacks taken in the first round since 1998 have a career QB Rating of >=90 and a QB Rating of 90 is the threshold for a QB to make the playoffs consistently with a league average defense or better. The question for the organizations selecting a Quarterback in this draft class, especially in Round 1: will you obtain one with a good chance to beat those odds that are already stacked against you? They only get harder the later you draft a Quarterback. You are lucky if there is one that will have at least a career 90 QB Rating in a given class, yet current draft projections show the possibility of 4 potential Quarterbacks chosen in the first round. Only the 2004 QB Draft class had more than 1 first round QB in it to surpass a career QB Rating of 90. NFL Data Consulants has Analytical QB Career Forecasts on around 150 Quarterbacks available. Now you know why we are confident when writing this on the Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Situation and this on the New York Jets Quarterback Situation

You can go here to contact me for Quarterback Analysis.

Prediction Review Series: New York Giants Pressure Problem

NFL Data Consultants made the prediction that OT Justin Pugh would have to move inside within the first 3-5 years, and we don’t make predictions just for the fun of it but to emphasize that NFL Data Consultants provides fantastic football analysis (yes, Nick Foles made the Pro Bowl this year; and we have advice for any team needing QB help this offseason).

What was the impact of keeping OT Justin Pugh on the outside? He gave up 43 QB hurries, good for 3rd most in the league. As bad as that was, LT Beatty gave up “only” 39 QB hurries, tied for 8th most in the league with two other OTs. Eli Manning was hurried 82 times combined from his OTs.

As noted in a previous article, a QB pressure costs a Quarterback 25% or more on his QB Rating. With the New York Giants keeping the path of least resistance to pressure at OT, Manning was harassed, beaten, and threw a league high 27 interceptions. His Quarterback Rating in 2013 fell to 69.4 from 87.2 in 2012. This is a consequence of an emotional decision.

Media reports have indicated that GM Jerry Reese may move OT Justin Pugh to LT. Since he gave up just 4 more QB hurries while facing lesser talented DEs,that warrants an upgrade to LT, correct? New York, you have a Giant QB pressure problem on your hands.

The Contrarian View Of QB Matt Barkley

As noted in the NFL Data Consultants prediction of the Philadelphia Eagles QBs, both Nick Foles and Matt Barkley have analytical comparisons to Pro Bowl Quarterbacks using our comparative analysis methodology. For Nick Foles, the comparison is Aaron Rodgers, who was afforded some development time behind Brett Favre. Foles has undertaken a very different development track, but the same upside remains and one game shouldn’t decide his fate, whether it was the poor performance against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 7 or the record breaking performance against the Oakland Raiders in Week 9. The key is using an analytical approach, not an emotional approach┬áis to understand the upside, potential, or lack of it for a Quarterback and to understand measuring his development; this allows an objective approach when a single game may just be an outlier in either direction. (Example: The Nationally Televised MNF Football game between the Atlanta Falcons and New Yorks in which Geno Smith threw 3 touchdowns and no interceptions with a 147.7 QB Rating. To date, that is the only game in which he has a positive touchdown to interception ratio with 9 games played, and his current QB Rating of 71.0 is in the low 70s, which is in the range of Geno Smith’s analytical prediction.)

With that introduction, I want to show the contrarian view of Matt Barkley. This is an analytical comparison you will see no where else, and you must buckle down with an analytical mindset and take in all the facts before you emotionally sound off. Out of nearly 900 QBs included in this analytical study, Matt Barkley only has one other Quarterback in his group, meaning it is a very well defined group. That other quarterback? Peyton Manning. If you take the emotional approach, you are probably exiting now before even seeing the data and analysis. You see where Peyton Manning is now and assume he has always played like a super star. Peyton Manning had his share of very tough games as a rookie (similar to Matt Barkley).

At this point, Matt Barkley has thrown 49 attempts, and I wanted to chart his start to the first two starts of Peyton Manning’s career, which includes Peyton Manning’s first 70 passes in the league.

 

Was that a lot closer than you would expect? Peyton Manning was taken 1st overall in the NFL Draft, thus the Indianapolis Colts committed to him and let him progress and develop. Peyton Manning has lost arm strength since his neck injury, but his game is not predicated on arm strength, but on the mastery of his offense and pre-snaps reads, and adjustments. Matt Barkley’s arm strength will improve as he has entered the league with a shoulder injury, but his arm strength will never be his calling card. If Peyton’s career progression is any indication, Barkley will need about 600 pass attempts to reach his next level and has the upside to reach a very high level. With the analytical comparison and play of Nick Foles, it will be very difficult for Matt Barkley to get those reps as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles. Thus stated in the original prediction, it would serve the Philadelphia Eagles better to go with Nick Foles and Matt Barkley for the long term and to get Matt Barkley reps when blowouts or injury make it possible. This was similar to the approach suggested for the Houston Texans Quarterbacks with Case Keenum and Matt Schaub, although Case Keenum’s QB group was not as strongly defined as Matt Barkley’s and Keenum needed reps for evaluation due to the massive upside of his group. Needless to say, the evaluation of Quarterbacks by the Philadelphia Eagles in the past two NFL drafts has been stellar, as they have loaded the position with massive talent and upside using only 3rd and 4th round picks in the NFL Draft. Kudos to the Philadelphia Eagles scouting department and General Manager, Howie Roseman.