Category Archives: Football
Alex Smith led the way in quarterback performances this week with an astonishing RIPPEN just over 43, and Blaine Gabbert continues to dwell at the bottom of all of my tables with a RIPPEN just above 3.
RIPPEN rankings for week 5 performances:
|Griffin, III, R.||WAS||17.237||82.9|
Looking at RIPPEN based on the whole season, Tom Brady is ranked number 1 with a RIPPEN of 27.304, which is essentially the same as RGIII’s RIPPEN of 27.279. The top five is rounded out by Payton Manning, Alex Smith, and Matt Ryan. My RIPPEN top five is the exact same top five as sorted by season QB rating, but in a different order. QB rating has the top five guys ranked Smith, Ryan, Brady, Manning, RGIII.
The bottom five according to RIPPEN are Weeden, Kolb, Cassel, Gabbert, and, dead last, Matt Hasselbeck. QB rating has three of these quarterbacks in the bottom five (Weeden, Cassel, and Gabbert), but by QB rating Sanchez and Tannehill are also in the bottom five. I have Tannehill 19th and Sanchez 25th out of 32 quarterbacks.
As for most over and under rated quarterbacks, I regressed QB rating as a function of RIPPEN and, as expected, they are highly related. (QB rating is approximately 58 + 1.63*RIPPEN). However, there are some large deviations. The most under-rated quarterback based on QB rating is Cam Newton. His QB rating is only 80.9, but, based on RIPPEN, we’d expect him to have a QB rating about 16 points higher around 97. Other under-rated quarterbacks include Ryan Tannehill who is about 14 points lower than expected and Mark Sanchez who is about 11 points lower than expected. (But don’t get me wrong here, I still think Sanchez is a terrible quarterback. I just don’t think he is the 30th best quarterback in the league, I think he’s 25th.)
The most over-rated QB based on passer rating is Kevin Kolb. Based on his passer rating, he is ranked 16th among quarterbacks, but RIPPEN has him ranking 29th. Based on his RIPPEN, his expected QB rating is 75.3 about 14 points lower than it actually is. This is likely do to the weight that passer rating gives to touchdown passes. The next two most over-rated QB’s are Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning. Roethlisberger has a QB rating about 11 points higher than we would expect and Manning is about 10 points higher than expected.
Season RIPPEN rankings through five weeks of games:
|Griffin, III, R.||WAS||27.279||101.0|
And finally, below is a plot of estimated outcome percentages that are used in calculating RIPPEN. If you look at Peyton Manning in the upper right corner of the plot you can see that starting from his own 20 yard line and only throwing passes in a simulated world, hell score a touchdown about 32% of the time and convert a field goal about 16% of the time. So he’d score on around 48% of drives. Compare this with Blaine Gabbert who will score a touchdown on about 6% of drives and get a filed goal about 9% of drives. This means that 85% of Gabbert drives, in the simulated RIPPEN world, end in either a punt, an interception, or a missed field goal.
StatsInTheWild NFL rankings as of October 9, 2012 at 12:34pm. SOS=strength of schedule
Best undefeated team: Houston
Best 4 win team: San Francisco
Best 3 win team: New England
Best 2 win team: Green Bay
Best 1 win team: Detroit
Worst undefeated team: Atlanta
Worst 4 win team: Baltimore
Worst 3 win team: San Diego
Worst 2 win team: Buffalo
Worst 1 win team: Kansas City
Worst team in the league: Cleveland
Most under-rated team: St. Louis (ESPN has them 18)
Most over-rated team: Pittsburgh (ESPN has them 10)
Overall Records for 2012
Week 5 (10-4 SU, 7-7 ATS, 7-7 O/U)
Week 4 (10-5 SU, 10-5 ATS, 12-2 O/U)
Week 3 (5-11 SU, 9-7 ATS, 9-7 O/U)
Week 2 (11-5 SU, 9-7 ATS, 8-8 O/U)
Week 1 (11-5 SU, 9-7 ATS, 8-8 O/U)
Arizona Cardinals at St. Louis Rams
Prediction: Cardinals win 22-15
Pick: Cardinals -1.5
O/U: Under 39
Atlanta Falcons at Washington Redskins
Prediction: Falcons win 26-19
Pick: Falcons -3
O/U: Under 50
Philadelphia Eagles at Pittsburgh Steelers
Prediction: Eagles win 27-24
Pick: Eagles +3.5
O/U: Over 44.5
Green Bay Packers at Indianapolis Colts
Prediction: Packers win 29-19
Pick: Packers -7
O/U: Under 48
Cleveland Browns at New York Giants
Prediction: Giants win 24-17
Pick: Browns +10.5
O/U: Under 44
Miami Dolphins at Cincinnati Bengals
Prediction: Dolphins win 23-21
Pick: Dolphins +4.5
O/U: Under 44.5
Baltimore Ravens at Kansas City Chiefs
Prediction: Ravens win 26-18
Pick: Ravens -4.5
O/U: Under 46.5
Seattle Seahawks at Carolina Panthers
Prediction: Panthers win 25-21
Pick: Panthers -3
O/U: Over 44
Chicago Bears at Jacksonville Jaguars
Prediction: Bears win 24-15
Pick: Bears -4.5
O/U: Under 40.5
Tennessee Titans at Minnesota Vikings
Prediction: Vikings win 23-22
Pick: Titans +5.5
O/U: Over 43.5
Denver Broncos at New England Patriots
Prediction: Patriots win 32-20
Pick: Patriots -7
O/U: Over 51.5
Buffalo Bills at San Francisco 49ers
Prediction: 49ers win 24-23
Pick: Bills +9.5
O/U: Over 44
San Diego Chargers at New Orleans Saints
Prediction: Saints win 32-27
Pick: Saints -3
O/U: Over 54
Houston Texans at New York Jets
Prediction: Texans win 26-21
Pick: Jets +9.5
O/U: Over 41
All I have to say is that Romo threw 5 interceptions and Sanchez still had a worse game this week than Romo. That’s astonishingly bad.
RIPPEN rankings for week 4 performances:
|Griffin, III, R.||WAS||41.929||102.4|
StatsInTheWild NFL rankings as of October 2, 2012 at 6:48pm. SOS=strength of schedule
RGIII moves into the number one spot on the year with his nearly 70% completion percentage, 8.6 Yards per attempt, and only one interception so far. Brady, Ryan, Schaub, and Newton round out the top 5. The bottom five are Fitzpatrick, Sanchez, Weeden, Wilson, and,in dead last, Gabbert.
Fitzpatrick is being way over-rated by passer rating because he leads the league in passing touchdowns at 12. His QB rating is being artificially inflated because he was lucky enough to have his offensive coordinator call passing plays near the end zone. RIPPEN ignores this. On the other send of the spectrum, a guy like Cam Newton is being under-valued by QB rating. Sure, he’s thrown 5 interceptions so far this year, but he is also averaging 9.5 yards per attempt, which leads the league. He’s 0.7 yards per attempt better than the second QB, Andy Dalton, who is at 8.8 yards per attempt.
So feel free to go on using QB rating and thinking Ryan Fitzpatrick is an average quarterback, but, if you prefer, you can catch a slightly better glimpse of reality by using RIPPEN.
RIPPEN rankings after four weeks of games:
|Griffin, III, R.||WAS||28.369||103.2|
I’ve always hated passer rating. It’s on a bizarre scale (maxes out at 158.3 in the pros), it weighs passing touchdowns too heavily (imho), and it doesn’t mean anything (what is 120 vs 80? No one knows). So, I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and I’ve finally come up with the replacement statistics for passer rating (this replacement, unlike the refs, is a good thing.) And so, in the spirit of great statistical sports acronyms like PECOTA, it is with great pride that I introduce to the world, Rush Independent Passing Player Efficiency Number, or RIPPEN (pretty good, huh?).
So what is it?
The basic idea
In a simulated world, how well would an offense perform if they started every drive from their 20 yard line and only ran passing plays with this quarterback’s stats. In this simulated world, a drive either ends with a touchdown (7 points), a field goal (3 points), or a turnover (0 points) (The defense never scores). RIPPEN is the expected number of points that an offense will score in 10 possessions (approximately one game) running only passing plays based on the specific quarterback’s statistics.
First, we need to create a data matrix of the results of every passing play for a quarterback. This data matrix will have three columns: interceptions, completions, and yards. The first column contains zero and ones for not an interception and interception, respectively. Likewise, the completions column contains zeroes and ones for incomplete and complete passes, respectively. Finally, the yards column contains the number of yards gained for a completed pass.
Now this data is used to simulate a drive starting from a teams 20 yards line and results in either 0, 3, or 7 points. 7 points are scored if they amass at least 80 yards before getting to a fourth down situation or interception. 3 points are scored only if the team gets to a 4th down and is inside the 40 yard line. They score a FG with probability proportional to the distance from the goal posts ranging from 100% for a 0 yard FG try to 50% for a FG try from the 40. 0 points are scored if an interception occurs, a fourth down occurs outside of the opponents 40 yard line, or if a field goal is missed. A game is simulated as 10 possessions, and a game is simulated 10000 times. The average score of these game simulations is RIPPEN.
RIPPEN is easily interpretable
RIPPEN means something. Ponder’s RIPPEN after three weeks is 29.167. This means that if you played simulated games over and over again with just him passing every play, on average, that team would score about 29.167 points on offense. That means something. Meanwhile, his passer rating is 104.9? Is that good? What does that mean? Who knows?
Further, the scale of RIPPEN is essentially on the same scale as points scored in a football game. Theoretically, the upper limit of RIPPEN is 70 (a touchdown on every drive in every simulated game) and the lower limit is 0 (a team never scores on any drive in any simulated game). This is much better than 0 to 158.3.
RIPPEN ignores passing touchdowns
Passing for a touchdown is more a function of what types of plays the offensive coordinator is calling than how good you are. If you’re driving your team down the field consistently and then punching in TDs from 2 yards out on a rush up the middle, the QB should not be punished for this. Likewise, the QB shouldn’t be rewarded for multiple short passing touchdowns.
RIPPEN ignores rushing yards
Quarterbacks like Michael Vick and RGIII are also a threat to gain yards on the ground, and RIPPEN doesn’t take that into account. This can be viewed a disadvantage. However, by removing rushing yards, quarterbacks can be compared on a level playing field (hence the RI in RIPPEN), so it’s not a huge disadvantage, but Vick and RGIII are going to appear lower in these ratings than they would be if this were attempting to be a total QB rating and not just a passer rating. And besides, traditional passer rating ignores rushing yards entirely, too. The next iteration of RIPPEN will incorporate rushing yards somehow. But I’m not quite sure exactly how yet.
Finally, here are the rankings after three weeks of games.
|Griffin, III, R.||WAS||24.491||103.5|
Surprisingly (or maybe not), I’ve got Christian Ponder ranked number one. I thought this had to be a mistake, but it actually makes sense. Go look at his numbers. He hasn’t thrown an interception yet. And his completion percentage is 70.1%. I think RIPPEN is doing a good job here.
Another interesting case is Cam Newton. His QB rating is 78.3, which puts him well below Blaine Gabbert, for instance, on that scale. But a big advantage of Newton is that, while his completion percentage is only 63.6%, his yards per attempt is 9.6, the best of all the regular starters. This means that Newton is completing a lot of long passes, which are useful for scoring touchdowns in both simulated game and a real game. Think about it, if you completed a 50 yard pass every three plays, your completion percentage would be 33.3%, but you’d score on every drive. And your QB rating would be terrible. But big plays are a big help when you’re trying to score points. So, I’d argue QB rating is under estimating Cam Newton.
On the other end of the spectrum, it appears that one of the more over-rated QBs this year is Ryan Fitzpatrick. His completion percentage is under 60% (58.1%, to be exact), which is pretty bad, but he’s being held up in QB rating because he’s thrown 8 TDs this year. That ties him for first in the league with Matt Ryan and Ben Roethlisberger. But their completion percentages are both at least 10 percentage points higher than his. Fitzpatrick is over-rated by QB rating.
A clear triumph of RIPPEN is the case of Blaine Gabbert. Gabbert really isn’t that good, but he is the only other starting quarterback to not have thrown an interception yet this year, while throwing for four touchdowns. Along with his other stats, this gives him a QB rating of 85.8. Here is a list of players who have a lower QB rating than Mr. Gabbert so far this season: Peyton Manning, Sam Bradford, Matt Stafford, Mark Sanchez, Cam Newton, Drew Brees, Andrew Luck, Matt Cassel, Josh Freeman, Michael Vick, Brandon Weeden, Jay Cutler, and Ryan Tannehil. That’s thirteen QBs and I don’t buy it. Anyone whos been following his even remotely knows he’s having a terrible start to the year even without throwing any interceptions. For instance, his completion percentage is 50.6%, which is worse than everyone in the league except for Mark Sanchez at 50.5% (!). RIPPEN does a nice job reflecting this by putting Gabbert 31st in the league above only Brandon Weeden and his league leading 6 interceptions.
While I have omitted him from the RIPPEN table below, I’ve calculated John Skelton’s RIPPEN for his appearance in Arizona’s first game of the season: 8.527. Only slightly better than Brandon Weeden.
Lastly, here is a plot of the probability that a quarterback scores simulated touchdown vs the probability their teams scores a simulated field goal. You can see that Cam Newton is going to score a lot of touchdowns. He’s up there with Dalton, RGIII, and Schaub. The difference is that his simulated drives are ending in zero points much more often. On the other hand, there are players like Wilson and Palmer who are leading their teams to three points about as often as Locker, Flacco and RGIII, but they are scoring many fewer touchdowns.
There are some interesting clusterings, too. Ryan and Brady are right next to each other in the upper right hand corner, Palmer and Wilson are very close, and there is a cluster in the middle of the plot consisting of Bradford, Sanchez, and Stafford all right on top of each other. Interesting. That is all for now.
Overall Records for 2012
SU: 37-26 (58.73%)
ATS: 37-26 (58.73%)
O/U: 37-25 (59.68%)
Week 4 (10-5 SU, 10-5 ATS, 12-2 OU)
Week 3 (5-11 SU, 9-7 ATS, 9-7 OU)
Week 2 (11-5 SU, 9-7 ATS, 8-8 O/U)
Week 1 (11-5 SU, 9-7 ATS, 8-8 O/U)
Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens
Prediction: Ravens win 24-15
Pick: Browns +13.5
New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills
Prediction: Patriots win 31-22
Pick: Patriots -3.5
O/U: Over 51
Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions
Prediction: Lions win 28-25
Pick: Vikings +4.5
O/U: Off the Board
Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons
Prediction: Falcons win 26-23
Pick: Panthers +9
O/U: Over 49
San Francisco 49ers at New York Jets
Prediction: 49ers win 23-21
Pick: Jets +4.5
O/U: Over 40
San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs
Prediction: Chargers win 28-19
Pick: Chargers -1
O/U: Over 44
Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans
Prediction: Texans win 24-21
Pick: Titans +12.5
O/U: Over 44.5
Seattle Seahawks at St. Louis Rams
Prediction: Seahawks win 20-15
Pick: Seahawks -3
O/U: Under 38.5
Miami Dolphins at Arizona Cardinals
Prediction: Cardinals win 22-21
Pick: Dolphins +6.5
O/U: Over 39.5
Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos
Prediction: Raiders win 25-22
Pick: Raiders +6.5
O/U: Under 47
Cincinnati Bengals at Jacksonville Jaguars
Prediction: Bengals win 22-17
Pick: Bengals -1.5
O/U: Under 43
New Orleans Saints at Green Bay Packers
Prediction: Saints win 31-28
Pick: Saints +7.5
O/U: Over 54
Washington Redskins at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Prediction: Redskins win 20-19
Pick: Redskins +3
O/U: Under 48
New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles
Prediction: Eagles win 29-26
Pick: Eagles -2.5
O/U: Over 45.5
Chicago Bears at Dallas Cowboys
Prediction: Cowboys win 23-22
Pick: Bears +4
O/U: Over 42.5