Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

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» Scramble for the Ball: Championship Quartets

Blake Bortles. Nick Foles. Case Keenum. Can it get worse than that? Andrew steps out of the way and lets Bryan throw up a dozen tables to try to come to an answer.

27 Nov 2017

Week 12 Quick Reads

by Vincent Verhei

With about two and a half minutes left in the first quarter last Sunday, the NFL's best offensive rookie took a handoff and stepped to his right on a simple inside zone play. The center, guard, and tackle to that side all won their matchups, while the backside guard did a fine job of cutting across the field and sealing off perimeter defenders. This was a clinical performance by the offensive line, and would likely have produced a good gain for any running back in the league. About 5 yards downfield, though, the rookie turned something good into something special. Rather than charge straight ahead, he spotted that the slot receiver to that side of the field had won his battle too, and cut behind him for more open field. The secondary closed, and two defenders had a chance to stop the play -- or, they might have, but by the time they arrived to make the tackle, the rookie was already gone. A third defender closed ground and made one final desperate effort to bring the runner down, but was physically outmatched and left lying on the turf with dirt kicked in his face. A half-dozen steps later, Alvin Kamara -- the best offensive rookie in the league this season -- stepped into the end zone, completing a 74-yard touchdown run.

Kamara began his college career at Alabama, but never saw the field there due to injuries and suspensions for "behavioral reasons." He spent one year in community college before moving on to the University of Tennessee, where the coaches never seemed sure how to use him. In two seasons in Knoxville, Kamara not only had fewer carries than lead back Jalen Hurd, but also fewer than quarterback Joshua Dobbs. Kamara's stunted numbers earned him a "potential bust alert" in our BackCAST Projections. (It would help if BackCAST accounted for broken tackles -- Kamara had some of the best broken-tackle numbers in the country last year, according to Sports Info Solutions.) With little track record for success, and in a class that was absurdly loaded with running back talent, Kamara fell to the third round of the NFL draft, the fifth running back to go off the boards. It was hard to see where he fit on a Saints team that already had Adrian Peterson, Mark Ingram, and Travaris Cadet. Our write-up on Kamara in Football Outsiders Almanac 2017 was pessimistic, saying he would "compete directly with [Cadet] to be the Saints’ main receiver out of the backfield" and would "also see snaps as a true wide receiver from the slot and flanker position," but he would "not carry the ball regularly."

And for about a month, we weren't far off. The Saints threw Kamara 28 passes in their first four games, resulting in 20 catches for 147 yards, but only handed him the ball on 15 runs. Those runs averaged 5.5 yards apiece, suggesting that Kamara deserved a bigger offensive role. He got more playing time in Week 5 against Detroit, rushing ten times for 75 yards. At this point the Saints were confident enough in Kamara that Peterson was deemed expendable, and he was traded to Arizona. From Week 5 onwards, Kamara is 11th in the league with 463 rushing yards. That sounds OK but not especially impressive, until you realize that Kamara's teammate, Ingram, is first in that same timeframe with 667 yards on the ground. Yes, Kamara is once again the change-of-pace back, but that hardly means he is a secondary player. In that same timeframe, he leads all running backs with 401 yards receiving, and his 864 yards from scrimmage is second only to the 955 of Le'Veon Bell. (Ingram is fourth with 760.)

The raw numbers paint a vivid picture of what Kamara has accomplished and what he means for the New Orleans offense. The Saints are averaging 8.1 yards per play when they throw the ball to Kamara, 7.1 yards per play when they hand off to him, but only 6.1 yards per play when they do anything else.

Kamara's advanced stats are even more remarkable. Kamara is on the verge of doing the impossible, amassing more rushing DYAR than any other player in the league without garnering enough carries to qualify for our leaderboards. We limit our tables to those backs with at least 100 carries for a few reasons. First of all, we want to say that the backs at the bottom of the table ranked in the 30s or 40s, not in the hundreds, which we would have to do if we included every player who carried the ball in a given season. Further, we wanted to avoid a situation like the one that happened with Moe Williams and the Vikings in 2002. Williams only had 84 carries that season, third on the team behind Michael Bennett (no, not that one) and Daunte Culpepper. But he was a goal-line specialist, with 11 touchdowns in those 84 runs. That's why he had more than 200 rushing DYAR that year, which would have ranked in the top five of all players. Can you really call a guy one of the top five runners in the league when he only gets 5.3 carries per game?

Through Week 12 (but not including Monday Night Football), Kamara has 218 rushing DYAR, the highest total for any player in the league. (Ingram is second with 195.) However, he has only 77 carries. We set our minimum at eight carries in Week 1 and increase it throughout the season. This week, the minimum will be 96 carries. Kamara is nearly 20 short. In Week 13 the minimum will hit 100 carries and stay there, giving Kamara five games to get the 23 carries he needs to qualify. That shouldn't be a problem -- he has collected at least five carries every week since that Detroit game.

Pedantic details aside, Kamara is clearly having a season for the ages. His 400 combined rushing and receiving DYAR this season is nearly double that of the next-highest running back (Chris Thompson, 217). He's not going to break the all-time record in that category (Marshall Faulk had 846 in 2000), but he is in rare territory when it comes to the rookie running back DYAR record book:

Best Rookie Running Back DYAR Totals, 1989-2017
Rushing
Receiving
Rushing + Receiving
Year Player Team DYAR Year Player Team DYAR Year Player Team DYAR
2002 C.Portis DEN 410 1993 T.Kirby MIA 289 2002 C.Portis DEN 501
1993 J.Bettis LARM 371 2008 M.Forte CHI 194 2016 E.Elliott DAL 421
2016 E.Elliott DAL 339 1996 M.Alstott TB 191 2006 J.Addai IND 412
2000 M.Anderson DEN 283 2017* A.Kamara NO 181 1993 J.Bettis LARM 401
1997 C.Dillon CIN 281 2013 G.Bernard CIN 167 2017* A.Kamara NO 400
2006 J.Addai IND 266 1989 D.Meggett NYG 166 1997 C.Dillon CIN 372
1995 T.Davis DEN 263 2006 J.Addai IND 147 1998 F.Taylor JAC 352
2012 A.Morris WAS 254 1998 F.Taylor JAC 132 2007 A.Petereson MIN 323
1989 B.Sanders DET 239 2002 L.Gordon STL 125 2006 M.Jones-Drew JAC 320
2007 A.Peterson MIN 229 2006 D.Williams CAR 121 2000 M.Anderson DEN 302
1998 F.Taylor JAC 220 2015 D.Johnson ARI 120 1999 E.James IND 300
2016 J.Howard CHI 219 2011 C.Clay MIA 119 1993 T.Kirby MIA 266
2017* A.Kamara NO 218 1996 J.McPhail MIA 118 2012 A.Morris WAS 254
2015 T.Rawls SEA 216 1999 E.James IND 117 2015 D.Johnson ARI 253
2006 M.Jones-Drew JAC 213 2013 A.Ellington ARI 117 1996 E.George HOIL 247
1996 E.George HOIL 205 1997 W.Dunn TB 111 1989 B.Sanders DET 238
2014 J.Hill CIN 204 2002 J.Simon TEN 111 2016 J.Howard CHI 236
2000 J.Lewis BAL 184 2006 M.Jones-Drew JAC 108 2013 A.Ellington ARI 234
1999 E.James IND 184 2006 R.Bush NO 100 1995 T.Davis DEN 232
2001 A.Thomas CHI 178 1994 M.Faulk IND 97 2015 T.Rawls SEA 228
* Through Week 12, not including Monday Night Football

Terry Kirby's spot atop the receiving leaders is quite an anomaly, and leads us to some crazy coincidences with the 2017 season. With Dan Marino injured, the Dolphins were left playing Scott Mitchell and Steve DeBerg (and current Philadelphia head coach Doug Pederson) at quarterback. The backups leaned less on their wide receivers (including Mark Ingram, father of the current Saints running back) and more on Kirby -- who, like Kamara, was a third-round rookie. Kirby caught 75 passes for 874 yards that season; he never came close to matching those numbers again, but he spent a decade in the NFL with the Dolphins, 49ers, Browns, and Raiders.

Clinton Portis left a more solid legacy. Mike Anderson had disappointed for Denver in 2001 following a stellar rookie year (as you can see in the above tables), and the Broncos took Portis in the second round in 2002. He rewarded them by finishing fourth in the NFL with 1,508 rushing yards that season, and sixth with 1,872 yards from scrimmage. He had even better totals the next season, but then was traded to Washington in exchange for cornerback Champ Bailey and a second-round pick (which turned out to be running back Tatum Bell, who went over a thousand yards from scrimmage a couple of times in Denver.) Portis made the deal pay off for Washington -- he went over 1,500 yards from scrimmage four more times in the next five years. Portis is one of 12 players to go over 1,500 yards from scrimmage six or more times; eight of the other 11 are in the Hall of Fame and Adrian Peterson is likely to join them, leaving Portis, Tiki Barber, and Ricky Watters in the Hall of Very Good.

When all is said and done, Kamara should finish an easy second place among rookies in the receiving and total DYAR record lists, and somewhere in the top five in rushing DYAR. And that's a very good list to be on. There are a handful of flash-in-the-pans -- Anderson, Alfred Morris, Thomas Rawls -- but most of these rookie went on to enjoy long, productive careers.

Of course, 2017 isn't over yet, and Kamara might not be the only rookie this season to find himself in these tables. Leonard Fournette, Kareem Hunt, and Aaron Jones, each already has 100-plus rushing DYAR with five games to go. Christian McCaffrey just missed the receiving DYAR table with 92, Hunt has 72, and Jamaal Williams and Samaje Perine are over 50. Hunt has 195 combined DYAR, and Fournette has 144. There's plenty of evidence to suggest this is the best group of rookie runners the league has ever seen, but that's a subject for another essay.

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
1.
Philip Rivers LACH
27/33
434
3
0
0
274
274
0
DAL
This was the second-best game for a quarterback this year, behind Tom Brady's game against New Orleans in Week 2, which now stands at 295 DYAR. Rivers was practically unstoppable in the second half, going 12-of-14 for 215 yards and three touchdowns. A 15th throw resulted in 10 more yards on a DPI. He had seven third-down dropbacks in the second half, and converted all of them, gaining 152 yards in the process.
2.
Case Keenum MIN
21/30
282
2
0
2
169
153
16
DET
So Thanksgiving Day was a good one for offense. Keenum got a lot of help from his receivers; he and Rivers were the only quarterbacks this week with three completions that gained 22 yards or more after the catch. Throwing to his left, Keenum went 7-of-7 for 114 yards. Six of those completions picked up first downs; the seventh was an 8-yard gain on first-and-10.
3.
Jared Goff LARM
29/43
354
2
1
4
166
166
0
NO
Goff tore up the middle of the Saints defense. His seven throws in that direction resulted in six completions and a DPI for 130 total yards and a touchdown. One of those completions was an 8-yard loss (to Tavon Austin, of course); each of the others picked up a new set of downs.
4.
Matt Ryan ATL
26/34
317
1
0
0
131
129
3
TB
It was a good day for Ryan overall, but he did not get off to a good start. In the first quarter, he went 5-of-9 for 34 yards and only one first down.
5.
Josh McCown NYJ
19/34
307
3
0
3
128
119
9
CAR
GABBERT WATCH UPDATE: Oh, Joshua, why must you tease me so? Every time it looks like McCown is going to go on a run of bad games and cement his status as the worst quarterback in the DVOA era, he has a good performance and elevates himself again. In fact, with this game, McCown now has -47 passing DYAR this season and -1,378 in his career. That actually moves him back into third-worst of all time behind Ryan Leaf (-1,388 career passing DYAR) and Blaine Gabbert (76 passing DYAR this year, -1,852 in his career). McCown was at his best against the Panthers as he frantically tried to lead a late comeback. After Carolina went up 32-20 with less than ten minutes to go, McCown went 6-of-6 for 69 yards and a touchdown.
6.
Ryan Fitzpatrick TB
27/44
283
0
0
1
99
92
7
ATL
Fitzpatrick had 11 red zone passes, spread out over five possessions. He went 5-of-11 for 40 yards and no touchdowns.
7.
Carson Wentz PHI
23/36
227
3
0
1
99
79
20
CHI
The screen game was working for Wentz and the Eagles against Chicago. The average pass to a receiver at or behind the line of scrimmage this season has gained 4.7 yards, and only 22 percent have picked up first downs. Wentz went 5-of-6 on such plays against the Bears, averaging 7.2 yards per play and picking up three first downs, including a 15-yard touchdown.
8.
Brett Hundley GB
17/26
245
3
0
4
93
89
4
PIT
Boom-and-bust, thy name be Brett Hundley. Hundley only threw for three first downs in the first three quarters of this game, but those three first downs were touchdowns of 39, 54, and 55 yards. Otherwise, until the fourth quarter, Hundley went 6-of-11 for 22 yards and three sacks.
9.
Derek Carr OAK
18/24
253
2
0
2
93
93
0
DEN
Paxton Lynch did all he could to put the Broncos into a deep hole, and then Carr made sure they never really had a chance to climb out of it. From the point Oakland went up 14-0 just before halftime, Carr went 12-of-15 for 188 yards and a touchdown.
10.
Ben Roethlisberger PIT
33/45
351
4
2
1
86
77
9
GB
Third downs: 7-of-10, 91 yards, seven conversions, one interception. That's a much better performance than...
11.
Drew Brees NO
22/32
246
1
0
3
75
74
1
LARM
... Brees, who went 7-of-11 for 40 yards, with one sack and only two conversions. He did convert his one fourth-down pass with a 33-yard completion to -- who else? -- Alvin Kamara.
12.
Blaine Gabbert ARI
22/38
241
2
1
1
63
61
1
JAC
Your weekly reminder that the Jacksonville defense is awesome -- Gabbert gained more than 100 DYAR from opponent adjustments. He had a modicum of success on third downs, but he needed to, because he was completely ineffective on second downs: 4-of-10 for 11 yards (not a typo) with no first downs and one interception.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
13.
Andy Dalton CIN
18/28
214
2
0
1
62
51
11
CLE
Remember what we said about super-short throws in Carson Wentz's comment? Well Dalton outdid him in that department. On throws to receivers at or behind the line of scrimmage, Dalton went 6-of-6 for 94 yards (15.7-yard average) and three first downs.
14.
Russell Wilson SEA
20/34
228
2
1
0
54
47
6
SF
Wilson's magic passing window against San Francisco came on throws that traveled 11 to 21 yards downfield: 8-of-10 for 145 yards. An 11th throw resulted in a DPI for 19 more yards.
15.
Tyrod Taylor BUF
19/29
183
1
0
2
29
33
-4
KC
Taylor has now thrown fewer interceptions in 308 passes this season than Nathan Peterman has in 24. They weren't all big plays, but he didn't miss a single throw to his backs and tight ends, going 13-of-13 for 129 yards.
16.
Trevor Siemian DEN
11/21
149
2
0
1
26
28
-1
OAK
All of Siemian's passes came with Denver down by at least 14 points in the second half. He did not throw a single pass in the red zone -- mainly because, between Oakland's 20- and 40-yard lines, he went 5-of-8 for 73 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
17.
Tom Savage HOU
22/37
252
0
2
2
20
20
0
BAL
18.
Tom Brady NE
18/28
227
4
1
1
11
11
0
MIA
The Dolphins found ways to frustrate Brady and get him off the field. On third downs, he went 2-of-5 for 58 yards, but also threw an interception and took a sack. Eventually, though, the Patriots would get to the red zone, and there Brady was literally perfect. All four of his red zone passes resulted in touchdowns, totalling 26 yards.
19.
Dak Prescott DAL
20/27
179
0
2
2
1
1
0
LACH
All 20 of Prescott's completions came on throws within 16 yards of the line of scrimmage. He failed to complete any of his six passes deeper than that. To be fair, one of those throws did result in a 36-yard DPI, but another was intercepted.
20.
Matthew Stafford DET
20/35
250
2
1
3
-1
-1
0
MIN
Stafford couldn't do much when throwing against the middle of Minnesota's defense, going 2-of-6 for 30 yards and only one first down.
21.
DeShone Kizer CLE
18/30
268
0
0
3
-4
-29
25
CIN
As usual, Kizer was at his worst in scoring range. Inside the Cincinnati 40, he went 8-of-12 for 76 yards with one first down and one sack. He was lights-out on passes that traveled 12 to 25 yards downfield, going 6-of-7 for 137 yards. It was all those other pass distances he had trouble with.
22.
Alex Smith KC
23/36
199
1
1
2
-19
-25
6
BUF
Smith did not have a successful play until the Chiefs were down 10-0 in the second quarter. Up to that point he had gone 2-of-8 for 7 yards. Only seven of his 36 passes traveled 10 or more yards downfield; his average pass distance of 4.8 yards was the shortest of any quarterback this week.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
23.
Cam Newton CAR
11/28
168
0
0
3
-25
-20
-5
NYJ
Newton had a nine-play stretch over the second and third quarters where he threw eight incompletions and took one sack. He converted only one third down the entire game, going 3-of-9 for 45 yards with a pair of sacks. (He also converted his only fourth-down play with a 9-yard gain.)
24.
Joe Flacco BAL
20/32
141
0
0
1
-30
-46
17
HOU
25.
Kirk Cousins WAS
19/31
242
2
1
6
-36
-39
3
NYG
Cousins had a big day throwing to Jamison Crowder, going 7-of-10 for 141 yards and a touchdown. Crowder didn't make our top five receivers this week, but as we shall discuss shortly, it was a really good week for receivers.
26.
Marcus Mariota TEN
17/25
184
1
2
0
-45
-47
2
IND
On third downs, Mariota went 7-of-8 for 76 yards. That sounds great, but only three of those completions actually moved the chains. The four that did not gained a combined 35 yards, nearly 20 percent of his total on the day.
27.
Blake Bortles JAC
19/32
160
0
1
3
-74
-84
11
ARI
Man, there were a lot of crappy quarterbacks playing this week. On third downs, Bortles went 3-of-8 for 18 yards with one conversion, one interception, and two sacks. Those sacks lost 12 and 10 yards, respectively, which means Bortles' average third-down dropback actually lost yards.
28.
Mitchell Trubisky CHI
17/33
147
0
2
2
-84
-89
6
PHI
Trubisky did not throw for a first down until the Bears were down 24-0 in the third quarter. Up to that point, he had gone 5-of-10 for 27 yards (including a gain of 18 on third-and-22) with an interception and an aborted snap. He did not throw a single pass in the red zone; in the front zone, between the Philadelphia 20 and 40, he went 2-of-5 for 10 yards with an interception.
29.
Jacoby Brissett IND
17/29
196
0
0
8
-85
-82
-4
TEN
Red zone passing: 1-of-4 for 7 yards, with no touchdowns and two sacks. The Colts lost this game by four points.
30.
C.J. Beathard SF
23/37
201
0
1
3
-90
-92
2
SEA
Beathard did not pick up a first down on Seattle's side of the 50 until the 49ers were down 24-6 in the fourth quarter. He went just 2-of-7 throwing up the middle, though those two throws did result in gains of 14 and 29 yards.
31.
Matt Moore MIA
23/33
215
1
2
7
-96
-96
0
NE
Most of Moore's completions were short gains. Fourteen of them failed to pick up first downs, most of any quarterback this week. (Note: This comment was written before Joe Flacco played on Monday night.)
32.
Eli Manning NYG
13/27
113
0
1
4
-113
-113
0
WAS
The Giants and Washington were tied 3-3 at halftime, and victory was very much within Manning's grasp. The next time Manning threw for a first down, the Giants trailed 20-10 inside of the two-minute warning. In between, he went 5-of-11 for 26 yards with two sacks and a fumble.
33.
Paxton Lynch DEN
9/14
41
0
1
4
-206
-213
7
OAK
This was the third-worst DYAR for a quarterback this year, behind Andy Dalton's -217 against Baltimore in Week 1 and Nathan Peterman's -216 against the Chargers last week. If you're trying to figure out how Lynch's statline can nearly match Peterman's five-interception meltdown, remember that this game came against the Raiders. Lynch's DYAR went down by 42 following opponent adjustments in just over a half of action. Matt Ryan's -50 DYAR knock due to opponent adjustments was the biggest of the week, and he had 34 plays against Tampa Bay. Consider this: officially, Lynch has thrown 3.9 percent of all passes against the Oakland defense this year, for 3.5 percent of all completions; 1.5 percent of all yards; 0.0 percent of all touchdowns; 21.1 percent of all sacks; and 100.0 percent of all interceptions.


Five Best Running Backs by DYAR (Total)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
Alvin Kamara NO
5
87
1
6/6
101
1
91
27
64
LARM
This was the second-best game for a running back this year, behind Ezekiel Elliott's 96 DYAR against San Francisco in Week 7. Kamara's rushing value was basically nil outside his 74-yard touchdown. But five of his six receptions produced first downs, including a fourth-down conversion, and the other was a 9-yard gain on first-and-20.
2.
Joe Mixon CIN
23
114
1
3/3
51
0
78
59
19
CLE
This was the third-best game for a running back this year. Mixon had seven first downs on the ground, including four runs of 10 yards or more, while being hit for no gain or a loss four times. And he did that against a Cleveland defense that came into the weekend first in DVOA against the run. His best catch was a 36-yard gain on second-and-9.
3.
Marshawn Lynch OAK
26
67
1
3/3
44
0
59
39
20
DEN
This was the 13th-best game for a running back this year, and it would have been the best game in Weeks 2, 6, or 8. Like Mixon, Lynch got a big boost due to opponent adjustments; Denver was second in run defense DVOA coming into the week. Then consider that most of Lynch's carries came while killing clock in the second half, and no running back this week had a more difficult set of carries. Lynch's longest run gained only 7 yards, he only had five first downs, and he was hit for no gain or a loss seven times. He had two first downs as a receiver, gaining 20 yards on second-and-9 and 26 on third-and-12.
4.
Jamaal Williams GB
21
66
1
4/5
69
1
46
19
27
PIT
The theme here this week is running backs getting big DYAR out of modest raw numbers that came against very good defenses -- the Steelers were fourth in run defense DVOA coming into the weekend. Williams' longest run gained only 12 yards; he had five first downs on the ground, but was hit for no gain or a loss nine times. Williams' receiving value comes from a 54-yard touchdown on third-and-9.
5.
Tevin Coleman ATL
19
97
2
0/0
0
0
40
40
0
TB
Coleman only had three first downs on the ground, but they came on 3- and 14-yard touchdowns, plus a 20-yard run. Meanwhile, he was hit for no gain or a loss just once.


Five Best Running Backs by DYAR (Rushing)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
Joe Mixon CIN
23
114
1
3/3
51
0
78
59
19
CLE
2.
Tevin Coleman ATL
19
97
2
0/0
0
0
40
40
0
TB
3.
Marshawn Lynch OAK
26
67
1
3/3
44
0
59
39
20
DEN
4.
Derrick Henry TEN
13
79
0
1/2
10
0
36
35
0
IND
In the first three quarters, Henry had three carries for a total of zero yards. In the fourth quarter alone, he ran ten times for 79 yards and six first downs. All told, he had four runs of 10 yards or more while being hit for no gain or a loss twice.
5.
Dion Lewis NE
15
112
0
1/2
1
0
23
35
-12
MIA
Though Lewis was hit in the backfield three times, he had five first downs on the ground, including gains of 13, 22, 25, and 25 yards.


Worst Running Back by DYAR (Total)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
LeSean McCoy BUF
22
49
0
4/4
30
0
-40
-60
21
KC
As opposed to the best runners this week, McCoy losess 24 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. He had four first downs on the ground, three on gains of 10 yards or more. But he was hit for no gain or a loss 10 times. One of McCoy's receptions lost 5 yards, but you'll live with that when he gains 24-yards on third-and-10 and 5 yards on third-and-4.


Worst Running Back by DYAR (Rushing)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
LeSean McCoy BUF
22
49
0
4/4
30
0
-40
-60
21
KC


Five Best Wide Receivers and Tight Ends by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Julio Jones ATL
12
15
253
21.1
2
119
TB
So this was the week when wide receivers went off. Jones' 119 DYAR (including 108 DYAR receiving, 11 DYAR rushing for his one carry for 15 yards) is the best for any receiver in a single game this year. Eleven of Jones' catches resulted in first downs, including five third-down conversions; the other was a 10-yard gain on second-and-11. Seven of his catches gained 20 yards or more; the Chargers and Rams were the only other teams with seven 20-plus-yard gains this week.
2.
Antonio Brown PIT
10
12
169
16.9
2
86
GB
This was the fourth-best game for a wide receiver this year. All of Brown's receptions produced first downs, including a pair of third-down conversions.
3.
DeAndre Hopkins HOU
7
10
125
17.9
0
77
BAL
This was the fifth-best game for a wide receiver this year.
4.
Keenan Allen LACH
11
14
172
15.6
1
74
DAL
This was the ninth-best game for a wide receiver this year, but it wasn't even Allen's best game of the past two weeks. Two of Allen's receptions against Dallas failed to pick up first downs, but he made up for that with DPIs for gains of 4 yards on fourth-and-1 and 10 yards on third-and-9.
5.
Marvin Jones DET
6
9
109
18.2
2
63
MIN
This was the 13th-best game for a wide receiver this year. Five of Jones' catches gained first downs, and he also gained 22 yards on a DPI. His biggest catch was a 43-yard touchdown on third-and-14. By the way, sixth place this week was Jamison Crowder with 62 DYAR, which would be the 14th-best game for a wide receiver this year. Yes, six of the top 14 games by wide receivers in 2017 came in Week 12.


Worst Wide Receiver or Tight End by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Jared Cook OAK
1
5
1
1.0
0
-40
DEN
Cook's 1 yard came on second-and-13, for the record. One of his incompletions came on first-and-goal from the 1.

Posted by: Vincent Verhei on 27 Nov 2017

91 comments, Last at 30 Nov 2017, 1:25pm by Will Allen

Comments

1
by Raiderfan :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 8:20am

I only had to reload it twice to read.
Seems as if even the great RB games were due to receiving.
Wonder what Rivers' YAR was, given he put up his numbers against a not very good defense.

3
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 9:37am

DYAR seems to be broken for RBs on receptions.

I can't imagine what it would have said about wingbacks in the 1960s, like Bobby Mitchell.

Guy was a right halfback with 1 rush and 72 receptions in 1962.
https://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/was/1962_roster.htm

11
by Aaron Schatz :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 11:37am

We're still working on fixing the advertisement issue. It's related to Google AdSense, but we can't remove the ads entirely yet because it requires a change in the code that passes the ad opportunity from one network to another network if the first network doesn't serve an ad. (Google is the second network.)

Trust me, we're trying to fix this. It's awful.

57
by The Ninjalectual :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 7:27pm

This is one of the few sites that actually LISTENS to reader feedback and makes a genuine effort to keep the user experience smooth. Thanks for all the work you do that doesn't have to do with football!

68
by rich006 :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 9:34pm

And seriously, Ashley Madison ads? The fact that someone thinks people who read this site would respond to that makes me want to leave. I'm not necessarily surprised by it, just slightly disgusted.

72
by MC2 :: Wed, 11/29/2017 - 1:39am

If you "want to leave" for such a silly reason, why don't you do so? Please.

75
by jtr :: Wed, 11/29/2017 - 10:03am

Ads get served by algorithms, not by Aaron or some guy at Google personally selecting them for each page. Some algorithm saw that this is a football website, and football websites tend to draw adult males, which is also the demographic for Ashley Madison. There's nothing personal about it, so don't take it personally.

76
by theslothook :: Wed, 11/29/2017 - 10:20am

It also goes off your own ad traffic...

81
by Eddo :: Wed, 11/29/2017 - 2:16pm

Actually, there probably is some personal aspect of it - a lot of the input that goes into said algorithms is your own browsing history. I'm sure everyone here has experienced searching for something, then starting to see ads for that item.

82
by Vincent Verhei :: Wed, 11/29/2017 - 4:02pm

True story: My wife used my computer to buy some underwear. She also works at a pool, and used my computer to buy some lifeguarding equipment.

And as a result, for weeks, all the ads on every site I visited were for bikinis and lingerie. And it was zero percent my fault.

83
by DGL :: Wed, 11/29/2017 - 4:38pm

Sure, Vince. We believe you.

84
by Raiderjoe :: Wed, 11/29/2017 - 6:47pm

Yes if get Ashley Madison ads on thdi site, perskn is probably single guy or cheating guy or maybe one of thkse sexual predator perv guys that is all the rage these days. Pervnado going on lately. Not sure about Ashley Madison for sure but think it is sight where you meet random women for sexual encounters and your mom and wife shoudltn find oit or something. Some sort of pervert site

85
by Will Allen :: Wed, 11/29/2017 - 7:44pm

I bet the loins have Ashley Madison ads on their internet devices.

2
by eggwasp :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 9:23am

one wonders if the fact that the Moe Williams season would have put him in the Top 5, rather is a problem of the system....

The major issue I have with the allocation of DYAR by play however is that it ignores the value of carries in setting up play action passes. Those 3 yard carries on 1st down might be "unsuccessful" on that play, but they set up the pass play later. Maybe I'm just old, but I still see a running game as being important.

4
by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 9:57am

DYAR always substantially underrated Adrian Peterson for this reason. Or more accurately, you need to understand what DYAR is measuring.

7
by sbond101 :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 10:39am

The fact that DYAR treats plays/players as independent, when plays are obviously not independent is a weakness it shares with most sports stats. Its most obvious with players that are very in-even (AP is a great example of a player who is transcendently great at one thing, changed the whole way the defense played, but really had no other skills to "get his" from a statistical perspective when not running the ball). I think the best way to deal with this is to understand that DYAR is really a measure of "how effective the offense was when doing x when utilizing player y" rather than a direct measure of the player. On the one hand that limits it utility for analyzing players which is too bad, on the other hand it creates a really interesting tool for looking at the aggregate stupidity of NFL coaches who don't use players properly which endlessly entertaining from my point of view (it's really what makes the Bills worth watching).

13
by Aaron Schatz :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 11:42am

I think the best way to deal with this is to understand that DYAR is really a measure of "how effective the offense was when doing x when utilizing player y" rather than a direct measure of the player.

In fact, you may notice this is something we write in the Statistical Toolbox section of the book every year.

14
by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 11:44am

Peterson may even now be a well above average player, when on a team with a poor qb, and mediocre or worse blocking. I suspect his presence is all that keeps Gabbert from being completely unproductive.

16
by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 11:57am

It's just an inherent problem with statistical analysis in football; it's a sport extremely dependent on the other 10 guys on the field, far more than any other sport. Baseball's largely a bunch of individuals wearing the same uniform, and, sure, on some level, your fielding % is going to be impacted by situational factors like shifting right or left based on defensive alignment or the batter's hitting tendencies, but it's minor enough to where I feel like I can look at fielding % over a shortstop's career and have a pretty solid idea of how they handled a ball hit at them. Hockey and basketball are definitely more team dependent than baseball, but still don't hit at all the level of coordination required to run effective plays in football.

Like you said, DYAR is an excellent way of looking at how a player performed in a particular situation with particular teammates on the field, and it's great for that. I guess you could work up a QB or WR's DYAR on play action with AP getting the fake vs. someone else, but I'd have to think there'd be problems getting enough data to make viable measurements.

It's like "leadership" and "intangibles" and all those other things broadcasters talk about. Not sure how you would look at a lot of that stuff in any vaguely objective way.

27
by DGL :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 1:21pm

It would seem that WOWY (With Or Without You) analysis would be a tool that could be used to try to isolate individual performance, but I don't know if the sample sizes are big enough.

28
by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 1:43pm

How would Bono measure up? Or some other old Niner backup qb?

31
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 1:57pm

Even if we do that, I still don't think we will have found what we're looking for.

34
by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 2:07pm

However, if we do, we'll say it's a beautiful day.

40
by InTheBoilerRoom :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 3:23pm

I don't know, these analyses always seem to work in mysterious ways to me.

49
by DGL :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 4:43pm

You're all welcome.

12
by Aaron Schatz :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 11:40am

Believe it or not, the run doesn't set up the play-action pass. It might in specific, in that Play 1 is a run and Play 4 is a play-action pass that starts out looking exactly like Play 1. But in general, teams that run more often do not have more success on play-action passes. As long as a team runs enough that the threat of the run is always there, that's enough for the team to succeed on play-action passes.

Also, success for running backs only compares them to other running backs. So if, for example, the average running back carry on first down is 4 yards, it doesn't matter if that's "unsuccessful." That's going to end up being the league-average baseline, and if a RB has an average carry, the DVOA will be zero and the DYAR will be positive. The fact that runs in general gain less yardage than passes only matters for team DVOA, not player DVOA.

21
by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 12:16pm

Teams that run more often either tend to be worse at passing, compared to other teams, or tend to build larger leads by the 2nd half, while not having a great short passing game. If a team isn't good at passing, relative to other teams, then it likely won't be good, relative to other teams, at play action passing.

Obviously, we need to build about 2000 robots which exactly replicate today's NFL rosters, then reshuffle those rosters several thousand times, running the schedule 50k times each for each iteration of rosters, to begin to suss out the interdependence of individual player talents. Of course, then Pagano, among others, will foul up the experiment by Paganoizing, followed by a rant about 25 year old movies. The Bills, of course, will bench their robots, and replace them with robots replicating a roster from the MAC.

22
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 12:33pm

You could build a pretty good roster from the MAC.

Ben Roethlisberger, JJ Watt, Antonio Gates, James Harrison, and Kareem Hunt played in the MAC.

24
by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 12:42pm

Sure, over the entire conference, encompassing many years. The Bills would pick one roster, from one year. From the team that finished 4th.

36
by Raiderfan :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 2:24pm

JJ Watt played for Wisconsin--B10 not MAC.

37
by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 2:32pm

Started at Central Michigan as a tight end, before transferring as a walk-on to Wisconsin.

55
by DisplacedPackerFan :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 5:55pm

Would that limit him to playing Tight End for the all MAC team and Defensive End for the All Big Ten (or Wisconsin) team so that he could end up dropping into coverage on himself at times?

42
by theslothook :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 3:33pm

I'm pretty skeptical that a good running back is all that helpful to a qb. For starters, I feel like run game is 60% blocking, 30% rb, and 10% receivers/coaching.

But even if those percentages are wrong, it's still second order compared to receivers, o line blocking, and scheme.

44
by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 4:02pm

You may be right with a merely good running back. With a back that an opposing defensive coordinator needs to take special measures to account for on every snap, because that back is a legitimate threat to score on every touch, I'm pretty sure it is very helpful, especially when the qb and blocking is average or worse. With every year that passes, I more greatly appreciate what Peterson accomplished in 2012, with The Ponderous One, who had no business being on an NFL roster, and an offensive line that started Charlie Screen Door Johnson.

23
by jtr :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 12:36pm

>As long as a team runs enough that the threat of the run is always there, that's enough for the team to succeed on play-action passes.

I don't know if that much is even necessary. Linebackers spend their entire lives chasing down tailbacks on running plays. They don't suddenly unlearn that just because their opponent hasn't been running the ball.

45
by JMM :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 4:18pm

In this interview, Tomlin says that pad level of the O line is the first consideration of successful execution of the play action pass.

http://www.steelers.com/news/labriola-on/article-4/Tomlin-on-play-action...

46
by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 4:26pm

O-line and db coach are the two most important position coaches, I think, maybe even more important than qb coach.

48
by theslothook :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 4:34pm

I would have agreed and oh so want to...but then I saw Jared Goff.

50
by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 4:49pm

Well, who knows what happens in the meeting rooms, but I give most credit to McVay for Goff's turnaround. I may well be wrong.

51
by mrt1212 :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 4:56pm

Check out the Houston Seattle game from earlier this season. Seattle had no running game whatsoever but kept doing PA passes for great success.

Why is that you might ask?

I think in this instance it was 4 things -

1. Defenders can't fight instinct.
2. Defenders aren't keeping tabs on how successful running has been and thus dont make concrete adjustments to what their instincts tell them to.
3. Additional traffic in the backfield slows rushers down, period.
4. The additional time and movement of Russell Wilson got WRs open against a poor Houston DB group and throwing lanes that were wide open.

So while an unsuccessful run might not be a total loss in the meta game of faking out the opponent's defense every so often, it is a loss in that instance and if the PA passes don't work or aren't called it's a moot point - the run didnt set up anything. In addition, if you can still utilize PA passes WITHOUT engaging in piss poor runs, you should probably do so. I think that Hawks Texans game bears out that idea.

59
by The Ninjalectual :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 7:34pm

The major issue I have with the allocation of DYAR by play however is that it ignores the value of carries in setting up play action passes. Those 3 yard carries on 1st down might be "unsuccessful" on that play, but they set up the pass play later. Maybe I'm just old, but I still see a running game as being important.

You're wrong. DYAR does indeed account for the value of setting up play action--in the numbers for the play action passing game. It's not a difficult thing for you to see a good play action passing game and to then mentally decide the RB may be more valuable than his raw DYAR.

Also, are you sure ineffective run plays actually do anything to boost PA? A 4 yard run on 1st and 10 sets it up a hell of a lot better than a 1 yard run.

5
by ammek :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 10:11am

I'd always assumed the threshold for carries existed to clarify the rankings for DVOA, rather than DYAR. Corey Graham has 54% rushing DVOA, but only 20 carries, so it's right that he doesn't qualify for a per-carry 'ranking'. He would be 2nd in that category, behind only Kamara; he's 21st in DYAR, which is much closer to representing his value.

Anyway, regardless of whether Kamara qualifies or not, he has been a joy to watch, and I hope he stays injury-free into the postseason and beyond.

Just as we've invented mandatory judicial sentencing to serve as some sort of deterrent, so I recommend applying an automatic -100 DYAR penalty for Bortles' pathetic interception to Tyrann Mathieu and for McCown's whatever-that-was-six recovered by Luke Kuechly. We know this foolishness and incompetence is repeatable. And a suitable sanction would prevent undesirable outcomes such as the Jags drafting quarterbacks or McCown finishing higher than 'MVP' Carson Wentz in Quick Reads despite undoing all his good work with a decision so awful that even the announcers felt emboldened to criticize it. We could name the penalty the Mandatory Incomprehensible Turnover Concession (Honorary) in a nod to its future figurehead.

8
by nat :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 11:14am

I'd always assumed the threshold for carries existed to clarify the rankings for DVOA, rather than DYAR.

DYAR shouldn't need the threshold when comparing the value of the best players. But without a threshold, the lists that go down to below zero DYAR blow up with all the players with 1 or 2 plays, and you never get to wallow in the glory of the guys with large negative DYARs.

The fix is to make the threshold "X plays or +Y DYAR" or even "more than X Plays or more than +Y DYAR or less than -Y DYAR".

6
by nat :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 10:24am

The Dolphins found ways to frustrate Brady and get him off the field.

Hmmm.... the Patriots scored five offensive TDs, four of which were on drives of more than 75 yards. That's a 45.5% drive TD rate, better than any other team this week. Even if you treat the drive extended by a fake punt as two drives, the resulting 41.7% rate would have been third for the week.

Hmmm...

Vince, I love your stuff. But for God's sake, man, take a moment to check your comments for obvious nonsense. Being off by a little is okay. Praising a team for something they did worse than every other team in the league is just sloppy.

9
by aces4me :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 11:17am

To be fair. I'm sure he was looking for something to explain a mediocre rating after a fairly dominate team performance. The third down success rate probably jumped out at him and he ran with it. I suspect he can't spent too much time on any one particular line to get the article out as early as he does.

10
by Aaron Schatz :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 11:34am

Brady's low rating is heavily about opponent adjustment. As Vince wrote about in a previous week, the pass defense adjustments this year are absurdly strong, especially if you play Jacksonville or Baltimore (positive) or Miami or Oakland (negative).

15
by nat :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 11:53am

Sure. I suspect that's exactly what he was doing. That is, picking through the stats to rationalize a conclusion that was already made, namely that Brady had played a barely above replacement level game.

The real reasons for Brady's poor DYAR showing are a huge opponent adjustment and, I suspect, the grading curve that happens when you build up a large lead. His actual play was just fine, with a passer rating well above the average for QBs playing against the Dolphins this year.

Yet again, a lot of this would be clear if FO published total YAR in these tables. There's plenty of room. The Sacks, CP/AT, Team, and Opp columns are much too wide for their data. The non-QB tables have plenty of room, too.

Edit: Aaron beat me to it about the opponent adjustment.

19
by PirateFreedom :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 12:11pm

To my inexpert Brady loving eyes Brady has had much better games. Miami had some atrocious coverage breakdowns and bad run defense but they also had a lot of pressure and hits and Brady's accuracy was down a tick, probably as a result.

20
by aces4me :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 12:14pm

I'm sure the combination of a division game, Pats playing a second string center and third string right tackle, and Miami's D line always getting fired up to hit Brady resulted in a pass Defense not as putrid as normal for Miami that game.

26
by Aaron Schatz :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 1:17pm

Two responses to these complaints and a lot of the complaints that come with Quick Reads.

1) Vince writes much of this very late on Monday night in order to try to get fresh content for readers on Tuesday morning. So he's not going to hit every single narrative or explanation. It's my opinion as EIC that having fresh content in the morning is worth this trade-off. (It's also why Quick Reads tends to have more typos than other pieces.)

2) We can look into adding columns to the table but I hate to tell you this... when we finally get our redesign finished, things are likely going to move the other way. So many readers accessing our website with mobile devices turns wide tables with many columns into a design flaw. You've probably noticed that most sites have moved away from such tables. We're not going to suddenly be running only six columns per table or something, but it is something we need to think about going forward.

One more note about Brady specifically: I've recommended to the NFL that they should change the aborted snap fumble and charge it to Karras rather than Brady. If that changes, Brady will have an additional 31 DYAR for this game.

30
by Hoodie_Sleeves :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 1:53pm

If he doesn't have time to be correct about a particular player, he just shouldn't say anything. No narrative is better than false narrative.

RE:2, I think this is a terrible idea. The sort of people who read your site are the sort of people who hit "request desktop version". Making data harder to get at is going to drive away your main audience.

65
by BroncosGuyAgain :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 9:14pm

Let's assume Vince did not knowingly publish a false narrative. The only way he can opt for no narrative over false is if he is aware that the first-draft narrative is, indeed, false. Had he known his comments were poorly supported and misleading, he would (we presume) have found a different narrative. So the only way to implement no narrative over false narrative is to abandon narrative altogether, which I suspect most readers will agree would be a mistake. I'll gladly accept the occasional whiff in return for the many genuinely interesting notes. And they are, after all, notes. A sentence or two meant to add color and perspective to a game, and not likely to influence Tom Brady's chances for Hall of Fame induction.

32
by jschroe36 :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 2:04pm

The NFL has been really terrible over the years with its consistency on fumbles. Adrian Peterson mishandled a handoff on Sunday but the fumble was charged to Gabbert. Fine. Jerome Bettis was charged with 3 mishandled exchange fumbles over his career (in which he never had control) that were essentially identical to that Peterson play. Fumble data is notoriously inaccurate.

54
by nat :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 5:27pm

Remember: Your brand is as an advanced stats site. Your brand depends on having complete enough stats to support intelligent, stat-savvy comments.

If you thin down the tables too much, you'll become "yet another seemingly arbitrary NFL Power Rankings" site, with comments reduced to the "Oh, yeah? Nuh-uh!" variety.

There is no way you can compete in the YASANPR space. And no reason you should want to.

67
by theslothook :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 9:28pm

As someone who works for a dev team - let me tell you - having to code an app that is both mobile friendly and desktop friendly in terms of UI/UX is an enormous pain in the ass and this is coming from a person whos stack is using the latest react, js, jquery setup. I primarily deal in the backend, so I don't work as a front end developer, but one of my closest friends does and I can tell you, I feel his pain.

29
by Pat :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 1:48pm

I don't see why it's too hard to see why a mediocre rating is OK. Brady was *exactly* average in yardage/game compared to what the Dolphins give up (227 vs 228). He was above-average in terms of TDs (4 vs 1.8), but much worse in terms of interceptions (1 vs. 0.33) and fumbles (2 vs. 1.4 for the entire team). Yes, obviously, the bad snap/fumble return for a TD was the center's fault, but it still ends up on Brady's ledger.

I mean, it's easy to think of that game as a blowout, but if Brady isn't able to get that second fumbled snap back, the Dolphins could've easily ended up only down a field goal early in the 4th quarter.

35
by aces4me :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 2:19pm

I really didn't look at any of the stats of that game except score. I was watching the game and at no time did the game feel in doubt. Even after the fumble TD my only thought was "that will make look closer than it was". To the naked eyeball Miami had a better pass defense than statistics say they do and Brady had a better than replacement level game but I guess that is why we do statistical analysis of the games to remove the observer biases.

47
by Pat :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 4:29pm

Miami, before that game, was on pace for a 5-interception season, which would've been the fewest interceptions in a season since the 0-16 2008 Lions. That's part of the problem - interceptions are so rare but so high-value that you get a team with a bad defense, and just bad luck ends up looking like a *horrendous* defense.

This year has a bunch of weird low-interception teams. Falcons are the weirdest - good passing defense (by yardage), but ridiculously low interception rate.

17
by BJR :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 12:04pm

Lynch gained 39 DYAR on 26 carries for 67 yards? That's some serious situational success.

18
by aces4me :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 12:06pm

And opponent adjustment.

25
by Eddo :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 12:42pm

"Can you really call a guy one of the top five runners in the league when he only gets 5.3 carries per game?"

Maybe not, but you certainly can say Moe Williams had one of the top five DYAR figures in the lead, in the same way you would say he finished in the top ten in rushing touchdowns that year.

39
by jschroe36 :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 3:14pm

Ahhhh, Rams rookie Jerome Bettis, what a sight to behold. 60% success rate, 1st team All-Pro. Only rookie in the DYAR/DVOA era to accomplish that.

41
by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 3:27pm

And he's from Detroit...

43
by theslothook :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 3:34pm

And he once won a Superbowl!

52
by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 5:12pm

And hauled his "four actual good seasons, 3.9 yards/carry" butt into the HOF.

60
by Jerry :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 7:51pm

... and the sixth-most rushing yards all-time.

66
by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 9:15pm
71
by Jerry :: Wed, 11/29/2017 - 12:22am
53
by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 5:12pm

And hauled his "four actual good seasons, 3.9 yards/carry" butt into the HOF.

33
by andrew :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 2:06pm

"This was the second-best game for a quarterback this year, behind Tom Brady's game against New Orleans in Week 2, which now stands at 295"

That game had a 250 DYAR at the time, when people were saying New Orleans' defense was historically bad. Sam Bradford had posted a 224 vs them at the time as well, and I imagine it has had a similar boost with New Orleans subsequent rise in defensive efficiency, though back then we weren't using opponent adjustments (if we had with the small sample size at the time, they would have been lower and thus had a higher boost by now, right?).

38
by mehllageman56 :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 2:43pm

Curious how far down the list Robby Anderson was. If anything is boosting McCown's DYAR this year, it's Anderson.

70
by Led :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 9:47pm

Only 6 catches on 10 targets will keep his DYAR down, but it was a good game. He's developing into a potentially special WR. Adding a solid intermediate game and back shoulder ability to his already special deep ball talent. He was #30 in DYAR before Sunday -- pretty good with McCown at QB. Especially for an UDFA. [EDIT: And Anderson is #16 in DVOA/DYAR after week 12.]

56
by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 6:28pm

Wonder what Rivers' YAR was, given he put up his numbers against a not very good defense.

301 YAR.

How would Bono measure up? Or some other old Niner backup qb?

I am so happy this question was asked and that it spawned such great answers. Gave me a real sense of pride.

Sure. I suspect that's exactly what he was doing. That is, picking through the stats to rationalize a conclusion that was already made, namely that Brady had played a barely above replacement level game.

Absolutely, categorically, 100 percent false. For each player, I look for splits where they played exceptionally well or exceptionally poorly. This is why Matt Ryan's comment this week was negative even though he was one of the best passers in the league. In Brady's case, he had a bad day on third downs; I should have just said that and left it alone.

This is two weeks in a row where I've been accused of bias and/or twisting data to degrade a specific team or player, when in fact the explanation is far more simple: I fucked up. Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

The upside of this is that I know some of you are readling the comments carefully. That's reassuring.

If he doesn't have time to be correct about a particular player, he just shouldn't say anything. No narrative is better than false narrative.

We've done a number of surveys and asked for feedback on this. We get way more complaints when we leave a comment blank than when we explain something poorly.

That game had a 250 DYAR at the time, when people were saying New Orleans' defense was historically bad. Sam Bradford had posted a 224 vs them at the time as well, and I imagine it has had a similar boost with New Orleans subsequent rise in defensive efficiency, though back then we weren't using opponent adjustments (if we had with the small sample size at the time, they would have been lower and thus had a higher boost by now, right?).

I have read this 10 times and I'm still not sure what question you're asking. But Bradford's game against New Orleans, which was scored at 224 DYAR without opponent adjustments in Week 1, is now 248 DYAR, the third-best game of the year.

Curious how far down the list Robby Anderson was. If anything is boosting McCown's DYAR this year, it's Anderson.

Eighth place this week with 55 DYAR. Would have been the best game of the week in some weeks, but it was a really, really good week for receivers.

61
by sbond101 :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 7:52pm

"We've done a number of surveys and asked for feedback on this. We get way more complaints when we leave a comment blank than when we explain something poorly." - This is a good job of listening to feedback. When I first read the DYAR and comment for Brady it didn't pass my BS filter, the comment (though less than ideal) was enough to point me in the right direction to figure out what DYAR was actually indicating. Obviously making brilliant, insightful, editorial comments is preferable to marginal ones, but marginal ones are valuable when taken in appropriate context.

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by sbond101 :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 7:55pm

Double Post

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by mehllageman56 :: Wed, 11/29/2017 - 1:22pm

Curious how far down the list Robby Anderson was. If anything is boosting McCown's DYAR this year, it's Anderson.

Eighth place this week with 55 DYAR. Would have been the best game of the week in some weeks, but it was a really, really good week for receivers.

Thank you Vince.

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by nat :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 7:31pm

In Brady's case, he had a bad day on third downs; I should have just said that and left it alone.

Yes, that would have been better. And that is an interesting split, too. As is the equally true "he had a great day on first and second downs". You could spin it either way, or not spin it at all.

It did look like you were spinning things hard in one direction to reach a conclusion that was the exact opposite of right. But I accept that you just made a poor logical deduction to get from "was bad in a small number of third downs" to "the defense was doing well getting him off the field". Taking a small amount of time to consciously reread your own comments and ask "Does this make any sense?" would have fixed that before it hit the page.

I really appreciate the work you do with Quick Reads. Keep at it and keep getting better.

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by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 7:54pm

I don't quite get why people read so much into these little blurbs, written in the wee hours of the morning.

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by theslothook :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 8:04pm

I agree. Especially since Quick is in the title of the article after all.

In all seriousness, the articles are pretty ambitious. They weave a story of the week and then give a blurb about each player and published right in the morning to catch the Tuesday news traffic. One can forgive them for not being exhaustive summaries.

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by MC2 :: Wed, 11/29/2017 - 2:56am

Simple. It's because some of the readers of this site can't seem to tolerate any criticism of one particular team, especially when that criticism is directed at one particular player on that team. Even when there is good evidence to support such criticism (which, admittedly, there wasn't much in this case), they will go to great lengths to nitpick and discredit such evidence. They only seem to be content when FO tells them that this particular team, the coach of this particular team, and the star player on this particular team, are the respective GOATs -- not only in general, but in every game, and in every aspect of every game. (By the way, this does not apply to all the FO readers who are fans of this team. But it applies to a lot of them.)

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by nat :: Wed, 11/29/2017 - 11:45am

Even when there is good evidence to support such criticism (which, admittedly, there wasn't much in this case)...

Meanwhile, no one has taken any exception to his observation about Brady's poor third down showing. Why would we? He was weak on third down.

It looks like the idea was to "discredit" (a slanted wording if ever there was one) things when they were glaringly wrong, but are okay with them if they are right.

Oh, horrors.

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by Will Allen :: Wed, 11/29/2017 - 12:22pm

Look, when terms like "spinning" are employed, then it is being implied that the writer is engaged in an attempt to deceive. That's not a good thing to imply, absent a large body of evidence.

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by PatsFan :: Wed, 11/29/2017 - 10:02pm

“Spinning” and “attempt to deceive” do not go with Vince. Another staff writer here, on the other hand...

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by nat :: Thu, 11/30/2017 - 11:18am

No one ever said Vince was attempting to deceive.

As for "spinning", Vince does a honest form of that in almost every comment. He looks for splits and generalizations to highlight the extremes of good or poor play by a player, knowing full well that as extremes they don't characterize the whole day very well. The split is whatever it is. The added comments are his "spin" to give context or emphasis to the split. That's what "spin" is. It's harmless to do and harmless to call it "spin".

In this case, Vince's added comment was tragically wrong - the exact opposite of what actually happened in the game. He says, and I believe him, this was not motivated out of a desire to defend a low DYAR value. It was a screw up, motivated by a desire to add emphasis to the split he had selected.

Vince's motives were pure. His execution was sloppy. That can be fixed.

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by Will Allen :: Thu, 11/30/2017 - 12:09pm

en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spin_(propaganda)

"In public relations and politics, spin is a form of propaganda, achieved through providing a biased interpretation of an event or campaigning to persuade public opinion in favor or against some organization or public figure. While traditional public relations and advertising may also rely on altering the presentation of the facts, "spin" often implies the use of disingenuous, deceptive, and highly manipulative tactics."

I know the English language is inexact, but to many, perhaps a large majority, "spinning" carries with it a connotation of dishonest manipulation, so it may be a term best avoided, unless one wishes to insult. In any case, your explanation clarifies sufficiently.

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by nat :: Thu, 11/30/2017 - 1:19pm

OK. I disagree that the political/public relations definition of "spin" applies here. But these day's it's hard to avoid political interpretations (spins? :-) on things. I get that.

Is there a better word than "spinning" for what Vince says he does in Quick Reads: Selecting data and making comments to highlight an extreme split and make it look interesting?

Vince is in essence writing a "Hot Take" on each DYAR entry, to "spin" it in an interesting way. But "spinning" seems a better term than "hot taking".

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by Will Allen :: Thu, 11/30/2017 - 1:25pm

I just call them "blurbs, but whatever.

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by Will Allen :: Thu, 11/30/2017 - 12:10pm

Delete repeat

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by Vincent Verhei :: Wed, 11/29/2017 - 4:34am

It does amuse me that 1,400-plus words on Alvin Kamara went largely ignored, but 13 words about Tom Brady started a firestorm.

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by MilkmanDanimal :: Wed, 11/29/2017 - 10:35am

I, for one, am shocked--nay, SHOCKED--that a mention of the words "Tom Brady" caused somebody somewhere on the internet to irrationally freak out.

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by BroncosGuyAgain :: Tue, 11/28/2017 - 9:39pm

While I would never discourage anybody from getting better, IMHO Vince is pretty damned good right now. Sure, he over-interpreted the third down data and apparently overlooked the impact of opponent adjustment per Aaron's comment above. Oh well. Rapid-fire analysis is inherently susceptible to error. That makes me appreciate the hits far more than I regret the misses, and I'm not exactly a glass-half-full kind of guy. Still, I appreciate your comments. Keep at it, and keep getting better.