Roundup 11/6/10

Can wheat production estimates, candy bar weights, and attendance at Wimbledon improve your fantasy football team? Stein's Paradox says you can, but is it truly useful?

Wrong. It's actually 96.8%.

Neil Paine at PFR estimates how many wins Philip Rivers should have based on his insanely high Adjusted Yards Per Attempt. Neil also looks at how the Patriots are winning this year despite pedestrian yardage stats.

I have to say, I'm really impressed by the NFL Network's top 100 players. I thought I'd disagree far more than I do. I learned a lot from the series. Together with their series America's Game, NFL Network is doing some great work. But that should be no surprise, as both series are products of the indispensable NFL Films. One interesting thing is the comparison the expert panel's ranking with the fans' ranking.

The only issue I'll raise is that the #1 and #4 players had each other. Half of Jerry Rice's 10 all-pro seasons were partially thanks to Joe Montana, and all of Joe Montana's all-pro seasons were with Jerry Rice as his top receiver. And of course, they both benefited from Bill Walsh's visionary passing offense. Not that they don't belong at the top of the list, but no two other players at the very top of the list are as directly connected as Rice and Montana.

Stafford or Sanchez, who will turn out the better QB?

NFL-Forecast has updated playoff probabilities.

One benefit of an aggressive fourth down doctrine that gets little attention is how it can affect a offense's options on third down. No longer does an offense have to think make-or-break on third down. Using all four downs, it can run or throw underneath, setting up very manageable fourth downs even if unsuccessful. This reduces the likelihood of interceptions and sacks. But the beneficial effect actually goes further. Now defenses can no longer pin their ears back to rush the QB on third down. They have to respect either play option, allowing offenses more success when passing on third and mid-long.

Lastly, don't forget about the Community Site, where you can publish your own number crunching nuggets.

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9 Responses to “Roundup 11/6/10”

  1. Tim says:

    FYI, both the first link about Stein's paradox and the last link, about fourth down doctrine, are broken.

  2. Ian Simcox says:

    That's a great point about aggressive 4th down strategy opening up plays on 3rd down.

    Just a quick check of the 2005 PBP data that's available shows that on 3rd and 10, teams rushing the ball averaged 7 yards per carry (on 83 attempts).

    If you're a punting coach, that's not enough. If you're like Haley, and 4th and 3 is not a down to be scared of, then the defence letting you run for 7 yards is more than welcome.

  3. Russ K says:

    It just dawned on me that the reason that head coaches make poor decisions about 4th downs, etc, is that you do not become a head coach by making such decisions. The skill set required to run a game well is totally different from the skills involved in coaching defensive linemen or drawing up an offensive game plan. A smart coach would have a "WP or EP mgr" dictating goals to the coordinators -- "getting four yards over the next two plays here is the most important thing we can do" -- so the coordinators can call the appropriate plays/defenses to achieve those goals.
    The "Mgr" making those calls actually needs to know nothing at all about football per se.

  4. Anonymous says:


    I dont know the appropriate fashion to ask this question so, I'm just gonna post in the comments and hope to get an answer from you at some point.

    Has anyone ever tried simply calculating avg field position after each play? I hypothesize this would give a pretty clear indication of team strength over the entirety of a season.

    Just curious.

  5. Jim Glass says:

    "Wrong. It's actually 96.8%." People have problems with numbers, don't even ask them what's a trillion? (And no matter how many trillions get added to the national debt, don't ask "Is Obama a Keynesian")


  6. Brian Burke says:

    I loved that video. Keynes is a punk.

    Regarding what is a trillion--I advocate a Constitutional amendment requiring all government expenditures to be in terms of "per taxpayer."

    There are about 100 million taxpayers in the US, so for every billion of spending, on whatever, you'd have to say "$10 per taxpayer." A $1 trillion health care bill would become a $10,000 per taxpayer bill.

  7. Jeff says:

    I now want Brian to be the GM of the Ravens and a Congressman. Too bad that's probably a conflict of interest.

  8. Jim Glass says:

    Regarding what is a trillion--I advocate a Constitutional amendment requiring all government expenditures to be in terms of "per taxpayer.

    I did that in terms of "taxes per taxpayer" here. (Or, in navy pilot terms, "$1T = 222 Nimitz class aircraft carriers".) Sorry for the non-football digression, but...

  9. Brian Burke says:

    Yeah, carriers are expensive, but they pay for awesomeness.

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