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2015 NFL Storylines

Posted by Mike Lynch on September 9, 2015

With the 2015 NFL season kicking off this week, we thought we'd visit some storylines for this season as a way of introducing some of the research tools you can find on Pro-Football-Reference.com. Follow the hyperlinked historical notes to the queries on our site and see if you can re-create them. If you're wondering about how we did anything, just ask us!

Quarterbacks Chasing History

Peyton Manning

Passing
Rk From To W L T
1 Brett Favre 1991 2010 186 112 0
2 Peyton Manning 1998 2014 179 77 0
3 Tom Brady 2000 2014 160 47 0
4 John Elway* 1983 1998 148 82 1
5 Dan Marino* 1983 1999 147 93 0
6 Fran Tarkenton* 1961 1978 124 109 6
7 Johnny Unitas* 1956 1973 118 64 4
8 Drew Brees 2001 2014 117 84 0
9 Joe Montana* 1979 1994 117 47 0
10 Terry Bradshaw* 1970 1983 107 51 0
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/1/2015.

Drew Brees

Tom Brady

Ben Roethlisberger

Aaron Rodgers

Russell Wilson

Andrew Luck

Adrian Peterson Returns

It's been a year since Peterson last took the field in a 34-6 Week 1 win over the Rams last season. Few fans will be rooting for Peterson in 2015, but he'll likely continue to climb the record books.

Golden Receivers

Throwing the football has never been more popular, and it has probably never been easier. Go ahead and check this list of the players with most receiving yards per game in NFL history. That right, the top five are all active players (or at least kind of active in the case of Josh Gordon). And this doesn't even include players like Odell Beckham, Jr. who don't yet have enough games played to qualify.

Sustained Success

The Patriots posted their 12th straight double-digit win season in 2014. That's the 2nd-longest such streak in NFL history. Only the 49ers (from 1983-98) have posted a longer streak. If head coach Bill Belichick can get his team to repeat, he could become the first head coach to win five Super Bowls.

Rk Tm Seasons W L T From To
1 San Francisco 49ers 16 191 63 1 1983 1998 See all seasons »
2 New England Patriots 12* 150 42 0 2003 2014 See all seasons »
3 Indianapolis Colts 9 109 35 0 2002 2010 See all seasons »
4 Dallas Cowboys 7 80 26 0 1975 1981 See all seasons »
5 Dallas Cowboys 6 64 19 1 1968 1973 See all seasons »
Dallas Cowboys 6 70 26 0 1991 1996 See all seasons »
Miami Dolphins 6 67 16 1 1970 1975 See all seasons »
Los Angeles Rams 6 66 19 1 1973 1978 See all seasons »
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/1/2015.

 

New Extra Point Rules

If you send your kicking team out for extra points, you'll now have to snap the ball from the 15, rather than 2. Curious how this impacts strategy? Check out our Game Player Finder to find all FGAs with the LOS at the 15 over the last 5 seasons. You can also use this tool to search for 2-point conversion tries over the same span. Which approach is the better bet?

Track History All Season Long

Bookmark our NFL Milestone Watch page and check every week for which records might fall.

Comments Off on 2015 NFL Storylines | Posted in Announcement, Data, Features, History, Play Index, Pro-Football-Reference.com

Find 2015 College Football Stats

Posted by Mike Lynch on September 3, 2015

With the 2015 college football season upon us, just a few reminders on where to find info for this season:

If you have any questions about where to find something or if you encounter any issues, please let us know here.

Comments Off on Find 2015 College Football Stats | Posted in Announcement, CFB at Sports Reference, Data, Features, Play Index

7 Ways to Dominate Your Fantasy League with PFR

Posted by Jonah Gardner on September 1, 2015

If I can be honest with you for a moment, I think my approach to fantasy football could use some work. Each year, I agree to join a friend's league and promptly forget about it until the hour before the draft, at which point, I binge read every draft kit and fantasy guide that I can put in front of my face. No matter what, it always ends the same way: me panicking in the 7th round and trying to draft Tshimanga Biakabutuka.

This year will be different. Why? Because this year, we're going to use Pro Football Reference. No more fighting for the same 5 sleepers everyone else wants or drafting Brandon Marshall three rounds too early because you forgot that he got traded to the Jets. We're going to get through this together, you guys.

This year, we've ramped up fantasy coverage on PFR, adding a lot of red zone and matchup data to give you all the info you need. So from the draft, to setting your lineup, to dominating the waiver wire, here's seven ways that PFR will lead you to fantasy glory.

1. We Have Fantasy Points!

That's right, we keep track of fantasy points, based on standard scoring systems (read the details in the glossary). That means that, if you're considering drafting a player, you can pull up his page and see a chart like this:

Year Age G FantPos FantPt VBD PosRank OvRank
2011 23 13 RB 120 30
2012 24 10 RB 111 28
2013 25 14 RB 205 79 7 17
2014 26 16 RB 292 173 1 1
728 252
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/17/2015.

 

Those are DeMarco Murray's fantasy numbers. In addition to the raw fantasy points, we also have a number called VBD, which subtracts a player's overall fantasy score from the “baseline” score, which is the score of the 12th-ranked QB, 24th-ranked RB, 30th-ranked WR, or 12th-ranked TE, giving you a number that's roughly fantasy football's cousin to Runs Above Average. Lastly, you can see both his overall rank vs the baseline and positional rank.

VBD is how we determine the overall rank; it lets us see the players who most outperformed the baseline for their position and gave players the biggest advantage over the competition. By VBD, here's the top performers since 2012:

vbd leaders

As you can see RBs have an advantage, coming in first all three years (2011's leader was Aaron Rodgers). However, there does tend to be a non-RB player in the top 5. All in all, last year's Top 20 included 8 RBs, 9 WRs, 2 QBs, and 1 Gronk.

However, we're just scratching the surface of the data. In the grey bar towards the top of a player's profile, you'll see a fantasy section. If you click on it, you can get a table like this:

Inside 20 Inside 10 Snap Counts
Rushing Receiving Rushing Off. Def. Sp Tms Fantasy
Rk Att Yds TD Tgt Rec Yds TD Att Yds TD Num Pct Num Pct Num Pct FantPt DKPt FDPt
1 1 2 1 0 0 0 0 1 2 1 61 88.4 0 0.0 0 0.0 18.3 25.3 19.8
2 2 16 1 0 0 0 0 1 3 1 58 71.6 0 0.0 0 0.0 21.3 26.3 21.8
3 2 -4 1 1 1 5 0 1 1 1 44 78.6 0 0.0 1 1.3 17.1 25.1 19.1
4 3 25 1 0 0 0 0 1 -1 0 50 75.8 0 0.0 0 0.0 27.5 31.5 28.0
5 4 14 0 1 1 3 0 1 5 0 67 88.2 0 0.0 0 0.0 17.2 27.2 20.2
6 7 25 1 0 0 0 0 2 5 0 52 69.3 0 0.0 0 0.0 20.6 29.6 23.6
7 2 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 44 71.0 0 0.0 0 0.0 19.2 23.2 19.7
8 1 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 0 43 66.2 0 0.0 0 0.0 20.1 28.1 22.1
9 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 43 67.2 0 0.0 0 0.0 9.0 13.0 11.0
10 1 4 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 0 36 60.0 0 0.0 0 0.0 13.1 22.1 16.1
11 1 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 0 51 94.4 0 0.0 0 0.0 14.3 19.3 15.3
12 4 12 1 0 0 0 0 3 3 1 48 78.7 0 0.0 0 0.0 17.3 23.3 20.3
13 10 9 1 1 1 6 0 5 -10 1 58 93.5 0 0.0 0 0.0 28.8 40.8 33.3
14 7 15 2 0 0 0 0 5 6 2 57 69.5 0 0.0 0 0.0 20.4 21.4 20.9
15 6 7 1 0 0 0 0 2 2 1 31 49.2 0 0.0 0 0.0 11.8 11.8 11.8
16 3 15 1 1 1 5 0 2 13 1 40 62.5 0 0.0 0 0.0 18.1 24.1 19.6
56 148 12 4 4 19 0 28 40 10 783 0 1 294.1 392.1 322.6
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/1/2015.

 

Those are DeMarco Murray's game-by-game fantasy stats for 2014. You can see his points, snap counts, and red zone data (hold that thought on the last one).

2. The Season Finder is Rad...

Of course, having fantasy stats is one thing, but actually harnessing them is another. That's where the Play Index comes in. Just like how you can use the Season Finder to sort through traditional season stats like passing yards and receiving TDs, you can also sift through fantasy points. For example, here's the 2014 fantasy point leaders:

Games Fantasy
Rk Year Age Draft Tm Lg G GS FantPt FantPt/G
1 Aaron Rodgers 2014 31 1-24 GNB NFL 16 16 356.1 22.26
2 Andrew Luck 2014 25 1-1 IND NFL 16 16 355.7 22.23
3 Russell Wilson 2014 26 3-75 SEA NFL 16 16 331.6 20.73
4 Peyton Manning 2014 38 1-1 DEN NFL 16 16 310.7 19.42
5 Ben Roethlisberger 2014 32 1-11 PIT NFL 16 16 310.2 19.39
6 Drew Brees 2014 35 2-32 NOR NFL 16 16 305.0 19.06
7 DeMarco Murray 2014 26 3-71 DAL NFL 16 16 292.1 18.26
8 Le'Veon Bell 2014 22 2-48 PIT NFL 16 16 287.5 17.97
9 Matt Ryan 2014 29 1-3 ATL NFL 16 16 284.3 17.77
10 Tom Brady 2014 37 6-199 NWE NFL 16 16 280.1 17.51
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/17/2015.

 

Torn between a RB or a QB with a late first round pick? This can help you strategize. Depending on who is still on the board, you can use the season finder to compare the dropoff from the top QB to one further down the list and see if it would be higher than, say, the dropoff from the 6th or 7th RB. But the Season Finder may be more useful in making decisions within a position. For example, here's the top 15 WRs in Fantasy Points since 2012:

Games Fantasy Passing
Rk From To Draft Tm Lg G GS FantPt FantPt/G
1 Demaryius Thomas 2012 2014 1-22 DEN NFL 48 48 654.3 13.63
2 Dez Bryant 2012 2014 1-24 DAL NFL 48 46 639.1 13.31
3 Calvin Johnson 2012 2014 1-2 DET NFL 43 43 597.3 13.89
4 Antonio Brown 2012 2014 6-195 PIT NFL 45 40 555.9 12.35
5 A.J. Green 2012 2014 1-4 CIN NFL 45 45 547.7 12.17
6 Brandon Marshall 2012 2014 4-119 CHI NFL 45 45 540.2 12.00
7 Jordy Nelson 2012 2014 2-36 GNB NFL 44 42 527.8 12.00
8 Eric Decker 2012 2014 3-87 TOT NFL 47 46 503.4 10.71
9 Vincent Jackson 2012 2014 2-61 TAM NFL 48 48 463.0 9.65
10 Andre Johnson 2012 2014 1-3 HTX NFL 47 47 462.1 9.83
11 T.Y. Hilton 2012 2014 3-92 CLT NFL 46 26 448.4 9.75
12 Julio Jones 2012 2014 1-6 ATL NFL 36 35 444.9 12.36
13 Randall Cobb 2012 2014 2-64 GNB NFL 37 28 432.1 11.68
14 DeSean Jackson 2012 2014 2-49 TOT NFL 42 40 426.3 10.15
15 Alshon Jeffery 2012 2014 2-45 CHI NFL 42 36 425.9 10.14
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/17/2015.

 

While we may want to believe that a Larry Fitzgerald bounceback is coming, he's only been the 27th highest ranked WR over the last three years. On the other hand, while Andre Johnson's numbers lagged a little last year, over the last three seasons he's been a Top 10 WR, and he's upgrading at QB from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Andrew Luck. ESPN has him going 25th among WR, meaning you could be buying low on a nice rebound candidate.

3. ...But the Game Finder May Be Better

Of course, unless you're in a somewhat unusual league, these season numbers will only do so much. Most of us play fantasy football week-to-week, game-to-game. If only there were some tool that let you search individual games the same way the Season Finder does with seasons...wait, there is!

It's called the Game Finder and it's incredible. You can get info on a game-by-game level, which means that you can actually break down the numbers to the basic unit of a fantasy season. And, of course, the Game Finder has Fantasy Points like the Season Finder. So, for example, if you care about consistency, you can see who has the most 18+ point games since 2012:

Rk From To Tm W L T W-L% Count
1 Drew Brees 2012 2014 NOR 21 12 0 0.636 33
2 Peyton Manning 2012 2014 DEN 28 5 0 0.848 33
3 Andrew Luck 2012 2014 IND 20 7 0 0.741 27
4 Aaron Rodgers 2012 2014 GNB 21 5 0 0.808 26
5 Tom Brady 2012 2014 NWE 21 4 0 0.840 25
6 Russell Wilson 2012 2014 SEA 19 4 0 0.826 23
7 Cam Newton 2012 2014 CAR 17 4 1 0.795 22
8 Tony Romo 2012 2014 DAL 15 7 0 0.682 22
9 Matt Ryan 2012 2014 ATL 13 8 0 0.619 21
10 Matthew Stafford 2012 2014 DET 13 8 0 0.619 21
11 Philip Rivers 2012 2014 SDG 14 6 0 0.700 20
12 Andy Dalton 2012 2014 CIN 15 3 1 0.816 19
13 Jamaal Charles 2012 2014 KAN 10 8 0 0.556 18
14 Marshawn Lynch 2012 2014 SEA 17 1 0 0.944 18
15 Colin Kaepernick 2012 2014 SFO 15 2 0 0.882 17
16 Jay Cutler 2012 2014 CHI 9 6 0 0.600 15
17 Joe Flacco 2012 2014 BAL 10 5 0 0.667 15
18 Robert Griffin 2012 2014 WAS 6 9 0 0.400 15
19 Ben Roethlisberger 2012 2014 PIT 7 8 0 0.467 15
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/14/2015.

 

Some of these bets seem like safer ones than others (Hi, RG3), but if you're picking between Big Ben (ranked 6 among QBs by ESPN) or Cam (ranked 8th), this can be one factor you keep in mind. On the other hand, if you prefer a high ceiling, you can set the parameters higher. For example, these are the players with 30 point games last year:

Rk From To Tm W L T W-L% Count
1 Andrew Luck 2014 2014 IND 3 0 0 1.000 3
2 Russell Wilson 2014 2014 SEA 2 1 0 0.667 3
3 Le'Veon Bell 2014 2014 PIT 1 1 0 0.500 2
4 Tom Brady 2014 2014 NWE 2 0 0 1.000 2
5 Cam Newton 2014 2014 CAR 1 0 1 0.750 2
6 Ben Roethlisberger 2014 2014 PIT 2 0 0 1.000 2
7 Matt Ryan 2014 2014 ATL 1 1 0 0.500 2
8 Odell Beckham 2014 2014 NYG 1 0 0 1.000 1
9 Drew Brees 2014 2014 NOR 1 0 0 1.000 1
10 Mike Evans 2014 2014 TAM 1 0 0 1.000 1
11 Ryan Fitzpatrick 2014 2014 HOU 1 0 0 1.000 1
12 Joe Flacco 2014 2014 BAL 1 0 0 1.000 1
13 Justin Forsett 2014 2014 BAL 1 0 0 1.000 1
14 Arian Foster 2014 2014 HOU 1 0 0 1.000 1
15 Jonas Gray 2014 2014 NWE 1 0 0 1.000 1
16 Rob Gronkowski 2014 2014 NWE 1 0 0 1.000 1
17 T.Y. Hilton 2014 2014 IND 1 0 0 1.000 1
18 DeAndre Hopkins 2014 2014 HOU 1 0 0 1.000 1
19 Julio Jones 2014 2014 ATL 0 1 0 0.000 1
20 Marshawn Lynch 2014 2014 SEA 1 0 0 1.000 1
Rk From To Tm W L T W-L% Count
21 Jeremy Maclin 2014 2014 PHI 0 1 0 0.000 1
22 Eli Manning 2014 2014 NYG 1 0 0 1.000 1
23 Peyton Manning 2014 2014 DEN 1 0 0 1.000 1
24 Tre Mason 2014 2014 STL 1 0 0 1.000 1
25 Branden Oliver 2014 2014 SDG 1 0 0 1.000 1
26 Aaron Rodgers 2014 2014 GNB 1 0 0 1.000 1
27 Emmanuel Sanders 2014 2014 DEN 1 0 0 1.000 1
28 Matthew Stafford 2014 2014 DET 1 0 0 1.000 1
29 Demaryius Thomas 2014 2014 DEN 1 0 0 1.000 1
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/14/2015.

 

A good fantasy team will balance risky players with high ceilings and consistent players with low floors. With the Game Finder, you can get both.

4. Check the Red Zone

Remember that DeMarco Murray chart I showed you earlier. Well, it shows off one of our newest features: red zone data. We can track targets, carries, yards, and TDs on plays that start within the 20 and within the 10:

Inside 20 Inside 10
Tm Tgt Rec Ctch% Yds TD %Tgt Tgt Rec Ctch% Yds TD %Tgt
Demaryius Thomas DEN 39 18 46.15 137 6 36.8% 18 6 33.33 33 4 36.0%
Antonio Brown PIT 34 19 55.88 149 9 36.6% 18 9 50.00 45 6 36.7%
Andre Johnson HOU 26 12 46.15 54 3 38.8% 11 5 45.45 25 3 50.0%
Jordy Nelson GNB 26 13 50.00 93 5 26.8% 15 5 33.33 24 3 31.9%
Odell Beckham NYG 25 16 64.00 122 8 25.5% 9 5 55.56 32 5 18.4%
Randall Cobb GNB 25 16 64.00 94 10 25.8% 13 10 76.92 37 8 27.7%
Alshon Jeffery CHI 22 10 45.45 69 7 27.8% 17 6 35.29 35 5 44.7%
Martellus Bennett CHI 21 11 52.38 86 5 26.6% 7 4 57.14 18 2 18.4%
Julian Edelman NWE 21 13 61.90 83 4 27.6% 10 5 50.00 29 4 25.0%
Jimmy Graham NOR 21 12 57.14 78 9 25.0% 10 6 60.00 19 6 29.4%
Larry Donnell NYG 20 11 55.00 64 6 20.4% 12 7 58.33 31 5 24.5%
Charles Clay MIA 19 8 42.11 51 2 21.1% 13 3 23.08 8 1 31.7%
Antonio Gates SDG 19 10 52.63 64 9 26.4% 14 7 50.00 35 7 34.1%
Rueben Randle NYG 19 8 42.11 57 3 19.4% 10 4 40.00 20 3 20.4%
Emmanuel Sanders DEN 19 16 84.21 84 6 17.9% 10 8 80.00 33 5 20.0%
Mike Wallace MIA 19 13 68.42 113 9 21.1% 6 4 66.67 22 4 14.6%
Steve Smith BAL 18 8 44.44 46 2 25.4% 6 2 33.33 5 1 18.2%
Rob Gronkowski NWE 16 11 68.75 81 9 21.1% 7 6 85.71 24 6 17.5%
Anquan Boldin SFO 15 8 53.33 76 2 34.9% 4 1 25.00 7 0 21.1%
Vincent Jackson TAM 15 3 20.00 18 2 28.8% 8 2 25.00 8 2 32.0%
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/1/2015.

 

This gives you a lot of info. Not only can you see how many times someone scored, but you can also see how many times the team tried to score with them. In theory, someone with more targets could see their TD numbers go up if he keeps getting the same opportunities. On the other hand, you may want to bet on the high-efficiency players who convert more of their targets into scores (click to enlarge):

4 kinds of receiviers

We track these numbers for rushing and passing, as well as receiving. More importantly, we'll be keeping tabs on these in 2015 too. Just click over to any 2015 NFL season page and hover over fantasy on the grey menu bar. Once the season starts, we'll have all the data you need to win on the waiver wire, as well as in your draft.

5. Know Your Advanced Stats

Anybody can look at passing yards or TDs for a quarterback, but our database goes deeper, with per attempt numbers and index stats.

For quarterbacks, we track yards per attempt, but also advanced stats like Adjusted Yards per Attempt (AY/A) and Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt (ANY/A). If you're a basketball fan, you can think of it as something similar to TS%. If you're not a basketball fan or don't know that stat, these numbers adjust a player's yardage per attempt to give them additional credit for TDs and blame for INTs. To decide which one to use, you'll want to know if your league penalizes QBs for sacks. If so, you'll want to use ANY/A, which accounts for sacks. If not, stick with AY/A, which only covers passing yards, TDs, and INTs. Looking at the AY/A leaders with at least 200 attempts last year, here's what you get:

Games Passing
Rk Tm G Cmp Att Cmp% Yds TD Int Rate Sk Y/A Yds AY/A ANY/A Y/G W L T
1 Aaron Rodgers GNB 16 341 520 65.58 4381 38 5 112.2 28 8.43 174 9.45 8.65 273.8 12 4 0
2 Tony Romo DAL 15 304 435 69.89 3705 34 9 113.2 29 8.52 215 9.15 8.11 247.0 12 3 0
3 Ben Roethlisberger PIT 16 408 608 67.11 4952 32 9 103.3 33 8.14 172 8.53 7.82 309.5 11 5 0
4 Peyton Manning DEN 16 395 597 66.16 4727 39 15 101.5 17 7.92 118 8.09 7.68 295.4 12 4 0
5 Ryan Fitzpatrick HTX 12 197 312 63.14 2483 17 8 95.3 21 7.96 83 7.89 7.15 206.9 6 6 0
6 Russell Wilson SEA 16 285 452 63.05 3475 20 7 95.0 42 7.69 242 7.88 6.72 217.2 12 4 0
7 Andrew Luck CLT 16 380 616 61.69 4761 40 16 96.5 27 7.73 161 7.86 7.28 297.6 11 5 0
8 Carson Palmer CRD 6 141 224 62.95 1626 11 3 95.6 9 7.26 59 7.64 7.09 271.0 6 0 0
9 Tom Brady NWE 16 373 582 64.09 4109 33 9 97.4 21 7.06 134 7.50 7.01 256.8 12 4 0
10 Kirk Cousins WAS 6 126 204 61.76 1710 10 9 86.4 8 8.38 70 7.38 6.77 285.0 1 4 0
11 Drew Brees NOR 16 456 659 69.20 4952 33 17 97.0 29 7.51 186 7.36 6.77 309.5 7 9 0
12 Matt Ryan ATL 16 415 628 66.08 4694 28 14 93.9 31 7.47 205 7.36 6.71 293.4 6 10 0
13 Eli Manning NYG 16 379 601 63.06 4410 30 14 92.1 28 7.34 187 7.29 6.67 275.6 6 10 0
14 Alex Smith KAN 15 303 464 65.30 3265 18 6 93.4 45 7.04 229 7.23 6.14 217.7 8 7 0
15 Joe Flacco RAV 16 344 554 62.09 3986 27 12 91.0 19 7.19 167 7.19 6.66 249.1 10 6 0
16 Philip Rivers SDG 16 379 570 66.49 4286 31 18 93.8 36 7.52 189 7.19 6.45 267.9 9 7 0
17 Mark Sanchez PHI 9 198 309 64.08 2418 14 11 88.4 23 7.83 151 7.13 6.18 268.7 4 4 0
18 Robert Griffin WAS 9 147 214 68.69 1694 4 6 86.9 33 7.92 227 7.03 5.17 188.2 2 5 0
19 Matthew Stafford DET 16 363 602 60.30 4257 22 12 85.7 45 7.07 254 6.91 6.03 266.1 11 5 0
20 Colin Kaepernick SFO 16 289 478 60.46 3369 19 10 86.4 52 7.05 344 6.90 5.58 210.6 8 8 0
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/17/2015.

 

Because this is a rate state, and fantasy is a game of bulk, a top scorer like Andrew Luck may be a little lower than where you'd take him in a draft. However, it can alert you to potential warning signs or point out potential sleepers. If the Saints try to run more this year, per rumors, Drew Brees may lose a lot of his value, since his AY/A is already low and his bulk production would also go down (on the other hand, perhaps a more balanced attack would make him more efficient). Meanwhile, guys like Roethlisberger or Tony Romo could be good value picks if you wait on a QB. Or maybe just take Aaron Rodgers and don't overthink it.

With new advanced stats, it can sometimes be tough to tell who is better than whom, and by how much. That's why I like looking at index stats. An index stat will be familiar to anyone whose ever seen ERA+ or OPS+ in baseball. We have index stats for pretty much all the important passing numbers, so rather than looking at just Passing TD%, something like TD%+ might be easier to digest.

With an index stat, it will always be indicated by a + or - (for these passing stats, you'll only need to worry about the +). A score of 100 means that the player's number was average for that season. If it's higher than that, it means they were that percentage better than average. Lower, and it means they were that much worse:

Games Advanced Passing
Rk Tm G TD%+
1 Tony Romo DAL 15 138
2 Aaron Rodgers GNB 16 132
3 Andrew Luck CLT 16 123
4 Peyton Manning DEN 16 123
5 Tom Brady NWE 16 114
6 Ryan Fitzpatrick HTX 12 111
7 Philip Rivers SDG 16 111
8 Ben Roethlisberger PIT 16 109
9 Drew Brees NOR 16 106
10 Jay Cutler CHI 15 106
11 Eli Manning NYG 16 106
12 Kirk Cousins WAS 6 105
13 Joe Flacco RAV 16 105
14 Mike Glennon TAM 6 105
15 Carson Palmer CRD 6 105
16 Mark Sanchez PHI 9 101
17 Ryan Tannehill MIA 16 101
18 Matt Ryan ATL 16 100
19 Russell Wilson SEA 16 100
20 Austin Davis RAM 10 97
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/17/2015.

 

Tony Romo's 138 means that his TD% was 38% better than average, meaning, again, he could be a sneaky play. Or you could go with Rodgers or Luck and know you'll have an elite TD-slinging QB.

Putting it all together, here's a scatter plot showing the Top 16 fantasy QBs (plus Ryan Fitzpatrick, who grades out surprisingly well by these metrics). On one axis, we have Y/A, giving us an idea of their efficiency and yardage totals. On the other, we have TD%+, for their scoring. The size of the circles reflects the number of pass attempts, giving us some idea of bulk (click on the picture to enlarge):

Click to enlarge

6. Play the Matchups

The draft is just the start of your season, and we'll be there to help as you navigate the endless lineup tinkering that comes with the fantasy season. In order to win, you'll be spending a lot of time researching the teams that your players are facing. Fortunately, we keep tables with all sorts of team defensive data.

Remember AY/A? I mean, we were just talking about it. Well, not only can you see it for the QBs, but you can check team's AY/A against, to get a look at how their defense has fared beyond simple points and yards allowed:

Rk Tm G Cmp Att Cmp% Yds TD TD% Int Int% Lng Y/A AY/A ▾
1 Washington Redskins 16 345 519 66.5 3990 35 6.7 7 1.3 8.2 8.9
2 Chicago Bears 16 366 548 66.8 4230 34 6.2 14 2.6 8.1 8.2
3 New York Jets 16 345 538 64.1 3746 31 5.8 6 1.1 7.5 8.2
4 Jacksonville Jaguars 16 355 541 65.6 3899 24 4.4 6 1.1 7.7 8.1
5 Pittsburgh Steelers 16 350 543 64.5 4049 30 5.5 11 2.0 7.8 8.0
6 Philadelphia Eagles 16 345 591 58.4 4238 30 5.1 12 2.0 7.8 7.9
7 Oakland Raiders 16 343 538 63.8 3810 29 5.4 9 1.7 7.4 7.7
8 New Orleans Saints 16 341 546 62.5 4019 26 4.8 12 2.2 7.7 7.7
9 Atlanta Falcons 16 359 566 63.4 4478 20 3.5 16 2.8 8.2 7.6
10 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 16 387 563 68.7 4084 28 5.0 14 2.5 7.6 7.5
11 New York Giants 16 324 522 62.1 3850 25 4.8 17 3.3 8.0 7.5
12 Tennessee Titans 16 347 545 63.7 3773 28 5.1 12 2.2 7.3 7.4
13 Indianapolis Colts 16 320 543 58.9 3669 27 5.0 12 2.2 7.2 7.2
14 San Diego Chargers 16 320 524 61.1 3427 24 4.6 7 1.3 6.9 7.2
15 Baltimore Ravens 16 382 595 64.2 3979 22 3.7 11 1.8 7.3 7.2
16 St. Louis Rams 16 368 540 68.1 3861 18 3.3 13 2.4 7.6 7.2
17 Minnesota Vikings 16 353 534 66.1 3572 26 4.9 13 2.4 7.1 7.0
Avg Team 350.0 558.7 62.6 3789.0 25.2 4.5 14.1 2.5 74 7.2 7.0
18 Arizona Cardinals 16 365 579 63.0 4152 22 3.8 18 3.1 7.6 7.0
19 Miami Dolphins 16 338 537 62.9 3557 27 5.0 14 2.6 7.0 6.8
20 New England Patriots 16 342 574 59.6 3837 24 4.2 16 2.8 7.2 6.8
21 Dallas Cowboys 16 371 558 66.5 4031 22 3.9 18 3.2 7.5 6.8
22 Carolina Panthers 16 364 562 64.8 3645 25 4.4 14 2.5 7.0 6.7
23 Kansas City Chiefs 16 318 545 58.3 3252 22 4.0 6 1.1 6.4 6.7
24 Green Bay Packers 16 333 564 59.0 3623 26 4.6 18 3.2 6.9 6.4
25 Houston Texans 16 363 619 58.6 3890 28 4.5 20 3.2 6.7 6.1
26 Detroit Lions 16 383 592 64.7 3706 23 3.9 20 3.4 6.8 6.0
27 San Francisco 49ers 16 324 551 58.8 3531 29 5.3 23 4.2 6.8 5.9
28 Seattle Seahawks 16 313 507 61.7 2970 17 3.4 13 2.6 6.3 5.8
29 Denver Broncos 16 399 641 62.2 3607 29 4.5 18 2.8 6.0 5.7
30 Cincinnati Bengals 16 365 608 60.0 3888 18 3.0 20 3.3 6.6 5.7
31 Cleveland Browns 16 335 587 57.1 3592 22 3.7 21 3.6 6.4 5.6
32 Buffalo Bills 16 337 559 60.3 3292 16 2.9 19 3.4 6.4 5.5
League Total 11200 17879 62.6 121247 807 4.5 450 2.5 94 7.2 7.0
Avg Tm/G 21.9 34.9 62.6 236.8 1.6 4.5 0.9 2.5 7.2 7.0
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/14/2015.

 

Even though Washington was merely a bottom 10 team by passing yards allowed, their AY/A shows that they got pummeled through the air. Of course, defense is not always consistent from year-to-year, so you'll want to pay close attention to how the 2015 numbers start to shake out early.

This year, our database goes even deeper, with matchup data by position. For instance, here's how every team's defense fared against TEs in 2014:

Receiving Fantasy Fantasy per Game
Tm G Tgt Rec Yds TD FantPt DKPt FDPt FantPt DKPt FDPt
Chicago Bears 16 107 77 889 13 166.7 246.7 205.2 10.4 15.4 12.8
New York Jets 16 104 75 810 14 165.0 240.0 202.5 10.3 15.0 12.7
Indianapolis Colts 16 115 83 954 10 155.9 247.4 196.9 9.7 15.5 12.3
Arizona Cardinals 16 123 86 1090 8 155.0 248.0 198.0 9.7 15.5 12.4
Washington Redskins 16 105 69 848 11 150.8 224.8 187.3 9.4 14.1 11.7
Dallas Cowboys 16 146 107 1033 9 147.3 262.3 200.8 9.2 16.4 12.6
Tennessee Titans 16 108 73 799 11 146.2 218.9 182.4 9.1 13.7 11.4
San Francisco 49ers 16 135 80 924 9 144.7 228.7 184.7 9.0 14.3 11.5
New England Patriots 16 121 79 997 6 139.7 222.7 177.2 8.7 13.9 11.1
New York Giants 16 111 67 844 8 137.8 201.8 167.3 8.6 12.6 10.5
Denver Broncos 16 130 91 867 8 136.9 228.9 180.4 8.6 14.3 11.3
Pittsburgh Steelers 16 98 62 693 11 135.5 200.3 166.3 8.5 12.5 10.4
Oakland Raiders 16 98 65 808 9 132.8 198.8 165.3 8.3 12.4 10.3
Jacksonville Jaguars 16 117 72 858 7 125.8 198.8 161.8 7.9 12.4 10.1
Seattle Seahawks 16 94 60 593 11 125.3 184.3 153.3 7.8 11.5 9.6
Minnesota Vikings 16 114 75 905 5 118.5 200.5 156.0 7.4 12.5 9.8
Cincinnati Bengals 16 121 70 865 5 118.5 191.5 153.5 7.4 12.0 9.6
Detroit Lions 16 117 83 804 6 116.4 202.4 157.9 7.3 12.7 9.9
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 16 119 91 912 3 109.2 202.2 152.7 6.8 12.6 9.5
Baltimore Ravens 16 101 66 771 5 107.1 174.1 140.1 6.7 10.9 8.8
Carolina Panthers 16 112 67 769 5 106.9 176.9 140.4 6.7 11.1 8.8
Kansas City Chiefs 16 88 54 534 8 103.4 157.4 130.4 6.5 9.8 8.2
Miami Dolphins 16 92 53 664 6 100.5 154.4 126.9 6.3 9.7 7.9
Green Bay Packers 16 118 74 883 2 100.4 180.3 137.3 6.3 11.3 8.6
Atlanta Falcons 16 107 67 704 4 96.4 164.4 129.9 6.0 10.3 8.1
San Diego Chargers 16 99 63 739 3 91.9 160.9 129.4 5.7 10.1 8.1
Cleveland Browns 16 98 68 731 3 91.2 162.1 125.1 5.7 10.1 7.8
Philadelphia Eagles 16 106 62 787 1 82.7 151.7 113.7 5.2 9.5 7.1
New Orleans Saints 16 102 65 560 4 82.0 147.0 114.5 5.1 9.2 7.2
St. Louis Rams 16 109 66 707 2 80.8 147.8 113.8 5.1 9.2 7.1
Houston Texans 16 97 56 621 4 80.1 139.1 108.1 5.0 8.7 6.8
Buffalo Bills 16 96 56 504 2 60.4 117.4 88.4 3.8 7.3 5.5
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/1/2015.

 

As if Gronk weren't valuable enough, he also gets 4 games this season against teams who were in the Top 5 for easiest matchups against TEs. Of course, he'll also be playing 3 against the 2 toughest TE matchups in the league. Just like with the red zone data, we'll be updating matchup data for 2015 in the fantasy section, so check these tables every week and adjust your lineup accordingly

7. Don't Worry, We Didn't Forget About Daily Fantasy

If you're using a Daily Fantasy site to play fantasy football without putting too much strain on your attention span, don't worry. We've got both FanDuel and DraftKings numbers in the database too. So all those nifty searches I showed you in the Season Finder and Game Finder? You can do those with Daily Fantasy points too! Here, for example, is every player with 8 or more games worth 20 points or more in DraftKings:

Rk Year Tm W L T W-L% Count
1 Antonio Brown 2014 PIT 10 3 0 0.769 13
2 DeMarco Murray 2014 DAL 10 3 0 0.769 13
3 Andrew Luck 2014 IND 8 3 0 0.727 11
4 Peyton Manning 2014 DEN 8 3 0 0.727 11
5 Demaryius Thomas 2014 DEN 8 3 0 0.727 11
6 Matt Forte 2014 CHI 3 7 0 0.300 10
7 Aaron Rodgers 2014 GNB 9 1 0 0.900 10
8 Drew Brees 2014 NOR 5 4 0 0.556 9
9 Emmanuel Sanders 2014 DEN 5 4 0 0.556 9
10 Odell Beckham 2014 NYG 3 5 0 0.375 8
11 Le'Veon Bell 2014 PIT 7 1 0 0.875 8
12 Tom Brady 2014 NWE 8 0 0 1.000 8
13 Dez Bryant 2014 DAL 8 0 0 1.000 8
14 Julio Jones 2014 ATL 5 3 0 0.625 8
15 Tony Romo 2014 DAL 8 0 0 1.000 8
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/17/2015.

 

Not only that, but our matchup data includes FanDuel and DraftKings points, as well as standard fantasy, meaning you can pore over those tables and search for the player who makes you a millionaire. Don't forget to check the red zone numbers too!

With Pro Football Reference, and the powerful search tools of the Play Index, you basically have your own front office and scouts. See, I told you we were going to get through this together. Unless you're in my league; in that case, everything I just said is a complete lie and you should draft Tebow first overall.

Comments Off on 7 Ways to Dominate Your Fantasy League with PFR | Posted in Advanced Stats, Fantasy, Features, Pro-Football-Reference.com

Introducing the Hockey-Reference Player Advanced Stats Finder

Posted by Mike Lynch on August 3, 2015

Last year we rolled out many new play-by-play based statistics and features to player pages on Hockey-Reference. A Team Advanced Stats Finder was created to allow users to sort through team-level statistics. We're now thrilled to announce a player stat companion to this: The Player Advanced Stats Finder.

This tool works like the others in our Play Index, allowing users to create custom queries back to 2007-08 by using the below search form:

Screen_Shot_2015-07-30_at_12_25_00_PM

As you can see, the tool allows for single-season search, combined season search or total season search. Additionally, there are several filters and criteria that can be applied to your search, as well as several different "sort by" options for your report. To give you a better idea of what the tool is capable, let's fire it up and show you some sample searches:

Of course, these are just a few quick examples. Some other statistics in a variety of situations that are now searchable/sortable are Fenwick, PDO, blocks, offensive/defensive zone start % and many more. We encourage you to play around with this new tool and let us know what you think!

And if you're confused about what any of these statistics mean, don't forget to check out our updated glossary!

1 Comment | Posted in Announcement, Data, Features, Hockey-Reference.com, Play Index

Enhancements to Hockey Reference Player Game Finder

Posted by Mike Lynch on June 19, 2015

We're excited to introduce a couple of fantastic enhancements to the Hockey Reference Player Game Finder. This tool allows you to search through game-level player stats for every NHL game since 1987-88.

The huge addition is the option to search by cumulative games, which allows you to search for statistics over a specific span of games. Use this option by selecting "Search for Cumulative Games" in the yellow section directly below "Search Form." This tool opens up capabilities to do informative searches never before possible on Hockey Reference. Here are some examples to give you the gist:

You'll also notice that we've added an option to search for games on a player's birthday. So you can now search for things like birthday Hat Tricks.

Or you can even combine these new features and find the players with the most career birthday goals or the most career playoff birthday goals.

2 Comments | Posted in Announcement, Data, Features, Hockey-Reference.com, Play Index

Introducing the NHL Draft Finder

Posted by Mike Lynch on June 18, 2015

With the 2015 NHL Draft coming up on June 26 & 27, we're happy to introduce a new tool to the Hockey Reference Play Index: The Draft Finder. Fans of our sites will find that this tool is similar to the ones found on Basketball Reference & Pro Football Reference.

With this tool, users can search through every NHL draft pick since 1963, utilizing a variety of filters and sorts. Users can set a custom range of years and specify things like position, team, birth country, round of selection, overall pick number and whether or not the player selected went on to play in the NHL.

Additionally, users can apply filters for what amateur program a player came from (whether this was the amateur team he was with at the time of the draft, or after the draft).

Here's a few sample searches for concrete examples of what the Draft Finder can do. However, you'll find this is merely the tip of the iceberg and we'd love it if you explore the options and let us know what you think.

We hope you enjoy this new feature.

Comments Off on Introducing the NHL Draft Finder | Posted in Announcement, Data, Draft, Features, History, Hockey-Reference.com, Play Index

Hockey Reference Adds Amateur Alumni Info

Posted by Mike Lynch on June 9, 2015

Hockey-reference.com has added a section called "Amateurs," that contains information on Amateur Teams with alumni in the NHL.

The landing page for "Amateurs" shows all NCAA, Major Junior and Canadian College (CIS) teams with an alumnus who played in the NHL. Clicking on those teams will show a list of all alumni, and their career NHL stats.

For example, the major teams with the most alumni in the NHL are the Kitchener Rangers and Peterborough Petes. The NCAA teams with the most are Minnesota and Michigan.

In addition, each player page now displays which amateur teams that player played for, hyper-linked to that team page showing all of its alumni.

Please keep your eyes peeled for further updates built off of this data.

Comments Off on Hockey Reference Adds Amateur Alumni Info | Posted in Announcement, Data, Features, History, Hockey-Reference.com

Hockey Reference Adds Captains Index & Pages

Posted by Mike Lynch on June 8, 2015

Hockey-reference.com has added a tab to each season page, showing the list of captains for each team.

In addition, the captain is now indicated in each team's roster, for any season, with a "C" next to their name.

The current list of all captains can be found here.

The captains for any particular season can be found, for example, here. To see a different season of captains, just change the year in the URL or use the next/previous seasons links on the page.

Each franchise also has a page which shows their all-time captains. For example, the Chicago Blackhawks' is here.

We've long had this info, but we hope these tweaks and additional pages make this info easier to access.

Comments Off on Hockey Reference Adds Captains Index & Pages | Posted in Announcement, Features, History, Hockey-Reference.com

2015 MLB Draft Tools

Posted by Mike Lynch on June 4, 2015

The 2015 MLB Draft begins Monday, June 8, so here are some tools to get you ready:

2 Comments | Posted in Announcement, Baseball-Reference.com, Data, Draft, Features, History

Find NBA Finals Data on Basketball-Reference

Posted by Mike Lynch on June 4, 2015

With the NBA Finals (finally) tipping off tonight, we just wanted to quickly link to some of the NBA Finals data & tools we have on the site.

  • For a full list of NBA Champions, Finals MVPs & annual top playoff performers click here.
  • For greater detail on the performance of Finals MVPs, check out this list. LeBron James is 1 of just 10 players with multiple NBA Finals MVPs. Only Jordan, Duncan, Magic & Shaq have more than 2.
  • For a full list of every Playoff series in NBA history click here. You can also click on any series on that list to see a cumulative box score for that series, with links to every game. Here is the 2014 NBA Finals, for instance.
  • If counting "ringz" is your thing, check out our list of the players with the most championships. As you can see, LeBron James has a chance to match another all-time great SF, Larry Bird, with 3 titles.
  • Additionally, you can use our Play Index to run searches specifically for NBA Finals games. In the Team Game Finder or Player Game Finder, just set the game type filter to Playoffs and the round filter to Finals like in the image:

NBA Finals search

 

We hope you find these tools useful as you enjoy the 2015 NBA Finals.

3 Comments | Posted in Announcement, Basketball-Reference.com, Data, Features, History, Play Index, Playoffs

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