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2015-16 Warriors Enter NBA Record Book

14th April 2016

The 2015-16 Golden State Warriors have earned a seat at the table in the discussion of the greatest teams in NBA history. They've set a new standard with 73 regular-season wins. Let's examine some of their other accomplishments this season:

  • 6th-best SRS in NBA history: SRS stands for Simple Rating System and is a rating method that takes into account margin of victory and strength of schedule.
  • 6th-best average margin of victory in NBA history: The Warriors outscored their opponents by 10.76 PPG, which was the best by any NBA team since the 1996-97 Bulls outscored their opposition by 10.80 PPG. However, the Warriors outscored their opponents by 10.0 PPG in the 1st three quarters of games alone, which is something none of the teams ahead of them on the list managed.
  • Most road wins in NBA history: The Dubs went 34-7 on the road, surpassing the 33 road wins by the 1995-96 Bulls.
  • 2nd-longest winning streak in NBA history: After winning their final four regular-season games in 2014-15, the Warriors ran off 24 straight wins to start 2015-16, coming up five games short of matching the 1971-72 Lakers' 33-game winning streak.
  • Longest home winning streak in NBA history: The Warriors' 54-game home winning streak was enough to surpass the old record (44) by the mid-90s Bulls.
  • 3rd-longest road winning streak in NBA history: Their 14-game road winning streak was good enough for a tie for the 3rd-longest in NBA history (just two games shy of the record).
  • Best Effective FG% in NBA history: When accounting for the added value of the three-point shot, the Warriors surpassed the 2013-14 Heat as the best field goal shooting team in NBA history.
  • Best True Shooting Percentage since at least 1983-84: The Warriors also bested the 2013-14 Heat for best True Shooting Percentage since 1983-84.
  • Most 3-pointers made per game in NBA history: Last season the Rockets set this record by making 11.4 3-pointers per game. The Warriors made over 13 per game.
  • 2nd-best 3-point FG% in NBA history: Incredibly, the same team that set the record for makes also managed to have the 2nd-best 3-point percentage in NBA history. It should be noted that the only team with a better 3-point field goal percentage, the 1996-97 Hornets, did so during a season in which the 3-point line was closer to the basket (22 feet all around).

Posted in Advanced Stats, Announcement, Basketball-Reference.com, Data, History, Play Index | Comments Off on 2015-16 Warriors Enter NBA Record Book

Your 2015-16 Expected +/- Leader: Joe Thornton

11th April 2016

At the beginning of the season, we introduced a new metric called Expected +/-. This statistic shows what we'd expect a player's +/- to be, based on where his team's and his opponent's shots came from while he was on the ice in even-strength situations. The expected value of these shots is based upon league-wide shooting percentages from various locations on the ice. The 2014-15 leader was Patrice Bergeron, at +21.5. With the 2015-16 regular season now completed, we're happy to announce that Joe Thornton is the 2015-16 leader at +21.7.

Since this metric considers the quality of shots (or at least their point of origin), it has an advantage over blunter instruments, like Corsi, which consider quantity, but not quality. However, unlike Corsi, Expected +/- does not include info on shots that weren't on goal, that were blocked, etc. So we see the stats as good complements for each other.

Check out the players with Expected +/- above 10 for the 2015-16 season here:

Rk Player Age Tm Pos GP E+/- ?
1 Joe Thornton 36 SJS C 82 21.7
2 Patric Hornqvist 29 PIT RW 82 20.3
3 Tomas Hertl 22 SJS C 81 19.2
4 Brian Dumoulin 24 PIT D 79 19.0
5 Joe Pavelski 31 SJS C 82 18.5
6 Justin Braun 28 SJS D 80 17.1
7 Carl Hagelin 27 TOT LW 80 17.1
8 Kris Letang 28 PIT D 71 16.7
9 Marc-Edouard Vlasic 28 SJS D 67 16.5
10 Ryan Getzlaf 30 ANA C 77 16.4
11 Brad Marchand 27 BOS LW 77 16.2
12 Hampus Lindholm 22 ANA D 80 15.2
13 Ryan Ellis 25 NSH D 79 14.7
14 Patrice Bergeron 30 BOS C 80 14.5
15 Drew Doughty 26 LAK D 82 14.5
16 John Klingberg 23 DAL D 76 14.2
17 Kris Versteeg 29 TOT RW 77 14.2
18 Anze Kopitar 28 LAK C 81 14.1
19 Colton Parayko 22 STL D 79 13.8
20 Shea Weber 30 NSH D 78 13.7
21 Jakob Silfverberg 25 ANA RW 82 13.6
22 Joonas Donskoi 23 SJS RW 76 13.5
23 Jake Muzzin 26 LAK D 82 13.5
24 Kris Versteeg 29 CAR RW 63 13.5
25 Tyler Toffoli 23 LAK C 82 13.4
26 Pavel Datsyuk 37 DET C 66 13.2
27 Trevor Daley 32 TOT D 82 13.1
28 Mikael Backlund 26 CGY C 82 13.0
29 Eric Staal 31 CAR C 63 12.9
30 Ryan Suter 31 MIN D 82 12.7
31 Jacob Trouba 21 WPG D 81 12.6
32 Carl Hagelin 27 PIT LW 37 12.4
33 Chris Kunitz 36 PIT LW 80 12.4
34 Alex Ovechkin 30 WSH LW 79 12.4
35 Mike Ribeiro 35 NSH C 81 12.3
36 Milan Lucic 27 LAK LW 81 12.2
37 Josh Manson 24 ANA D 71 12.1
38 Eric Staal 31 TOT C 83 12.1
39 Filip Forsberg 21 NSH LW 82 12.0
40 Jared Spurgeon 26 MIN D 77 11.8
41 Mattias Ekholm 25 NSH D 82 11.6
42 Tyler Seguin 24 DAL C 72 11.4
43 Dustin Byfuglien 30 WPG D 81 11.2
44 Craig Smith 26 NSH RW 82 11.2
45 Trevor Daley 32 PIT D 53 11.1
46 Marian Hossa 37 CHI RW 64 11.1
47 Phil Kessel 28 PIT RW 82 11.0
48 Victor Hedman 25 TBL D 78 10.9
49 Roman Josi 25 NSH D 81 10.9
50 Evgeny Kuznetsov 23 WSH C 82 10.9
51 Sidney Crosby 28 PIT C 80 10.7
52 David Perron 27 TOT LW 71 10.4
53 Joel Ward 35 SJS RW 79 10.4
54 Evgeni Malkin 29 PIT C 57 10.3
55 Marian Gaborik 33 LAK RW 54 10.2
56 Jeff Carter 31 LAK C 77 10.0
57 Jussi Jokinen 32 FLA LW 81 10.0
58 Justin Williams 34 WSH RW 82 10.0
Provided by Hockey-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/11/2016.

Posted in Advanced Stats, Announcement, Data, Hockey-Reference.com | 1 Comment »

Lessons From the 14 Biggest NBA Deadline Trades

18th February 2016

The 2016 NBA Trade Deadline has, is, or will be passing as you read this. The long term consequences will shake out over the next few months and even years, but we can look back at past deadlines to determine just how important deadline deals tend to be.

Last year's Trade Deadline shows that it takes a few years to be able to truly evaluate the impact of a trade. At the time, the best deal of the day seemed to be the Goran Dragic Trade. Miami picked up Dragic, the reigning MIP who had been worth nearly 23 NBA Win Shares in his career with Phoenix up to that point, for two 1st rounders and mostly filler players.

Since the trade, Goran Dragic has contributed 5 WS to Miami, but he's also signed a big new contract. His scoring and his efficiency have plummeted this season and, as Miami's roster ages, those two draft picks are starting to look more valuable.

Compare that to another trade involving a Phoenix Suns PG. In a 3-teamer, the Celtics acquired Isaiah Thomas and Jonas Jerebko for a Cavaliers' 1st rounder and not much else. Most agreed at the time that Dragic was the more valuable player, but Thomas has outperformed him. Since the trade, Thomas has been worth 9 WS and his scoring has leapt up 6 PPG. Even Jerebko has been worth 3 WS, not much less than what Miami has received from Dragic.

So let's take a look back at some of the biggest NBA trade deadline deals, using the benefit of hindsight to see who really gained the most from making them. It's not necessarily fair to say one team or the other "won", since, as you'll see, a lot of these trades rely on things that the front offices making them couldn't have possibly known at the time. But, perhaps, there are lessons here that GMs can take into future dealings.

A couple of notes before we start. I'm using a generous definition of the Trade Deadline to include any trade that happened in mid-January, February, or March, because it's my column and I can do what I want. To quantify value, I'm using Win Shares, a metric that Basketball Reference adapted from the baseball stat devised by Bill James. WS is a stat that awards portions of every team win to every player on the team, based on how much they contributed (positively or negatively) to said win.

The biggest trades, as defined on this list, are the ones with 100 or more Win Shares in past or future value. In other words, every trade on this list is one where all the players involved had contributed 100 WS to the teams trading them or where they would go on to contribute 100 WS to the teams that acquired them. These are trades where franchise players moved on, where teams acquired a new franchise player, or where both happened.

For each trade, we'll show the past WS of all the players in the trade for the team that traded them (so, for example, the number for Rasheed Wallace doesn't include his WS in Portland) and the future WS the player would accumulate for the team that traded for them (so, for example, Seattle's WS in the Ray Allen trade won't reflect his time in Boston). I've also included, in parentheses, the percentage of past WS each team sent and the percentage of future WS each team acquired. You can think of that as a rough measure of who "won" the trade.

Got it? Then let's get started.

Lesson 1: Selling a legend is tricky

Los Angeles Clippers Receive: Dominique Wilkins, 1994 1st Round Pick (Greg Minor). 31 Past WS sent (22.4%), 2.6 Future WS received (66.7%)

Atlanta Hawks Receive: Danny Manning.  107.4 Past WS sent (77.6%), 1.3 Future WS received (33.3%)

Houston Rockets Receive: Clyde Drexler and Tracy Murray54.5 Past WS sent (32.8%), 26.9 Future WS received (89.4%)

Portland Trail Blazers Receive: Otis Thorpe, Marcelo Nicola, 1995 1st Round Pick (Randolph Childress). 111.9 Past WS sent (67.2%), 3.2 Future WS received (10.6%)

Dominique Wilkins was in his 12th year with the Atlanta Hawks when the franchise decided they'd rather trade him than give him a massive new contract. Unfortunately, because of that impending new contract, and Wilkins' age, the Hawks couldn't get back more than a Win Share. This trade makes the list because of Wilkins' lengthy tenure, but in terms of return, it left much to be desired.

Still, given that Wilkins's career was nearly over, the Hawks got a better share of the overall WS pie than the Trail Blazers did, when they traded Clyde Drexler. Drexler is still the Blazers' all-time Win Shares leader and in return they got Thorpe, who would be gone months later, Nicola, who never came to the US, and a pick that would go to a player who logged 375 total minutes for Portland. At least Clyde got a ring, though!

Lesson 2: But if you get it right, it's worth it

Milwaukee Bucks Receive: Desmond Mason, Gary Payton56.1 Past WS sent (29.6%), 16.3 Future WS received (22.9%)

Seattle Supersonics Receive: Ray Allen, Ronald Murray, Kevin Ollie, 2003 1st Round Pick (Luke Ridnour). 133.4 Past WS sent (70.4%), 54.9 Future WS received (77.1%)

Gary Payton was having an All-Star year when Seattle, apparently concerned about re-signing him, shipped him to Milwaukee. In exchange, they got the best shooter of his generation. Ray Allen would go on to chip in 38.2 WS as a Sonic before being sent to Boston, while GP would leave for LA in free agency, contributing just 2.9 WS to the Bucks.

Lesson 3: Good drafting can make a trade

Atlanta Hawks Receive: Tom Henderson, 1977 1st Round Pick (Greg Ballard). 6.6 Past WS sent (39.5%), 62.9 Future WS received (51.7%)

Washington Bullets Receive: Truck Robinson, 1977 1st Round Pick (Tree Rollins). 10.1 Past WS sent (60.5%), 58.8 Future WS received (48.3%)

Milwaukee Bucks Receive: Sam Cassell, Chris Gatling, Paul Grant10.7 Past WS sent (27.8%), 36.7 Future WS received (30.4%)

New Jersey Nets Receive: Elliot Perry, Chris Carr, Stephon Marbury, Bill Curley13.9 Past WS sent (36.0%), 20.0 Future WS received (16.6%)

Minnesota Timberwolves Receive: Terrell Brandon, Brian Evans, 1999 1st Round Pick (Wally Szczerbiak). 14.0 Past WS sent (36.2%), 64.0 Future WS received (53.0%)

Detroit Pistons Receive: Rasheed Wallace, Mike James41.7 Past WS sent (91.9%), 38.7 Future WS received (37.7%)

Atlanta Hawks Receive: Chris Mills, Zeljko Rebraca, Bob Sura, 2004 1st Round Pick (Josh Smith). -0.1 Past WS sent (-0.3%), 50.2 Future WS received (48.9%)

Boston Celtics Receive: Chucky Atkins, Lindsey Hunter, 2004 1st Round Pick (Tony Allen). 3.8 Past WS sent (8.4%), 13.8 Future WS received (13.4%)

If you ask any fan who remembers the 2004 Trade Deadline who the biggest acquisition that year was, they'd say Sheed and Sheed a 2nd time. And, from a historic perspective, they'd be right, since Wallace helped the Detroit Pistons win a title. However, the player who had the biggest on-court impact for the team that traded for him in 2004 wasn't even in the NBA at the time.

Although the players who travelled to Atlanta in the Sheed trade didn't amount to much, they did make the most of the draft pick they got. While Josh Smith has fallen on tough times, he contributed 47.6 WS to the Hawks, more than the 37.3 Sheed racked up as a Piston. Thanks to the pick, and their smart use of it, the Hawks actually won the largest percentage of future WS in the Rasheed Wallace trade (of course, it doesn't look quite as good if you factor in the 14 WS they gave up to acquire Wallace for one game).

None of the trades in this section would have made the list based on the players who were actually in the trade. Instead, smart drafting helped some of these teams turn average-seeming trades into big wins.

4. You can't really predict how a trade will impact you

Washington Wizards Receive: Drew Gooden, Josh Howard, Quinton Ross and James Singleton67.4 Past WS sent (60.7%), 4.6 Future WS received (27.4%)

Dallas Mavericks Receive: Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood and DeShawn Stevenson43.6 Past WS sent (39.3%), 12.2 Future WS received (72.6%)

On paper, this move seemed to bring Dallas the missing piece they needed to win a championship: Caron Butler. Yet, one year after this trade, when the Mavericks made their Finals run, Butler was in a suit, injured and unable to play. On paper, DeShawn Stevenson was a throw-in. Yet, in the 2011 NBA Finals, it was Stevenson whose 3s and D helped lead to the Mavs' upset victory over the Miami Heat. The Mavericks wouldn't have won the Finals without this trade, just not for the reason they were expecting when they made it.

5. The Rudy Gay Trade was weird

Toronto Raptors Receive: Rudy Gay, Hamed Haddadi. 56.1 Past WS sent (39.0%), 1.9 Future WS received (12.9%)

Memphis Grizzlies Receive: Austin Daye, Tayshaun Prince, Ed Davis, 2013 2nd Round Pick (Jamaal Franklin). 30.8 Past WS sent (21.4%), 9.8 Future WS received (66.7%) 

Detroit Pistons Receive: Jose Calderon60.3 Past WS sent (42.0%), 3 Future WS received (20.4%)

This trade makes our list because it involved 3 players who amassed over 25 WS for their respective franchises changing teams. However, it serves as a warning that, in the NBA, your past accomplishments can fade very quickly. Prince and Calderon, who accounted for over 98 of the past Win Shares in this trade, were basically just salary figures used to match the money on Rudy Gay's monster contract.

The Grizzlies "win" this trade, by virtue of the fact that Prince stayed in town till 2014 and averaged 27 MPG for a playoff team and by virtue of the fact that Rudy Gay would spend less than a year in The True North. However, it's tough to argue anyone here really won.

6. It's very, very tough to get good value back for a superstar

Philadelphia 76ers Receive: Wilt Chamberlain26.3 Past WS sent (19.0%), 71.2 Future WS received (84.6%)

San Francisco Warriors Receive: Connie Dierking, Paul Neumann, Lee Shaffer, cash. 112.4 Past WS sent (81.0%), 13 Future WS received (15.4%)

Honestly, the most amazing part of this trade may be that Wilt accumulated 71.2 WS in just 3 and a half years as a 76er. Things had gotten bad for Wilt in San Francisco, but that's a tough return for one of the greatest to ever play the game

7. But it's not impossible

Los Angeles Lakers Receive: Pau Gasol, 2010 2nd Round Pick (Devin Ebanks). 6.2 Past WS sent (10.3%), 59.7 Future WS received (48.7%)

Memphis Grizzlies Receive: Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, Marc Gasol, Aaron McKie, 2008 1st Round Pick (Donte Greene), 2010 1st Round Pick (Greivis Vasquez). 53.8 Past WS sent (89.7%), 62.8 Future WS received (51.3%)

New York Knicks Receive: Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Anthony Carter, Renaldo Balkman, Shelden Williams, Corey Brewer34.8 Past WS sent (27.1%), 40.2 Future WS received (42.9%)

Denver Nuggets Receive: Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov, Kosta Koufos cash, 2012 2nd Round Pick (Quincy Miller), 2013 2nd Round Pick (Romero Osby) and a 2014 1st Round Pick (traded). 91.5 Past WS sent (71.4%), 51.8 Future WS received (55.3%)

Minnesota Timberwolves Receive: Anthony Randolph, Eddy Curry1.9 Past WS sent (1.5%), 1.7 Future WS received (1.8%)

The Pau Gasol trade, at the time, seemed like one of the biggest steals in NBA history. Now, almost a decade later, by percentage of future Win Shares, Memphis actually won the trade. Lakers fans probably won't complain too much about a trade that convinced Kobe to stay and got them 2 rings, but Pau's 59.2 WS as a Laker are a little behind Marc's 62.2 in Memphis. In fact, the younger Gasol has been worth more WS as Grizzly than the older one was, making this the rare trade where a team dealt a superstar and improved their long-term situation.

The jury is actually still out on the Melo Trade, since Anthony, Gallinari, and Chandler remain on the teams that acquired them, but, at this point, Denver has an over-10 WS lead. At the time, the conventional wisdom was that the Knicks may have given up too much for a player they'd be able to sign as a free agent over the summer. Unlike the Gasol trade, the Win Shares seem to bear that out in this case.

8. Being a Cavs fan sucks 

Phoenix Suns Receive: Tyrone Corbin, Kevin Johnson, Mark West, 1988 1st Round Pick (Dan Majerle), 1988 2nd Round Pick (Dean Garrett), and a 1989 2nd Round Pick (Greg Grant). 62.1 Past WS sent (85.2%), 179.8 Future WS received (73.7%)

Cleveland Cavaliers Receive: Larry Nance, Mike Sanders, 1988 1st Round Pick (Randolph Keys). 10.8 Past WS sent (14.8%), 64.3 Future WS received (26.3%)

Detroit Pistons Receive: Kenny Carr and Bill Laimbeer. 10 Past WS sent (34.4%), 99 Future WS received (74.9%)

Cleveland Cavaliers Receive: Phil Hubbard, Paul Mokeski, 1982 1st Round Pick (John Bagley), 1982 2nd Round Pick (Dave Magley). 19.1 Past WS Sent (65.6%), 33.2 Future WS Received (25.1%)

Cleveland Cavaliers Receive: Antawn Jamison, Sebastian Telfair63.4 Past WS sent (58.3%), 7.8 Future WS received (67.8%)

Washington Wizards Receive: Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Emir Preldzic, Al Thornton, 2010 1st Round Pick (Lazar Hayward). 41.4 Past WS sent (38.1%), 2 Future WS received (17.4%)

Los Angeles Clippers Receive: Drew Gooden. 4 Past WS sent (3.7%), 1.7 Future WS received (14.8%)

There are three trades on this list that involve the Cavs. Two of them are trades that the Cavs soundly lost, including the Kevin Johnson trade, where Cleveland gave up the largest total future value of any trade on this list. You know a trade is bad, when it cost you more Win Shares than trading away Wilt Chamberlain.

Then there's the Jamison trade, a win for the Cavs, but one that only calls to mind 2010-2012, a period where Cleveland lost in a 2nd-round shocker, watched LeBron James announce he was leaving on live TV, and spent the next 2 years as one of the worst teams in the league.

Is there a trade you think is missing from the list? Or are you just interested in reading more about past trade deadlines? Either way, make sure to check out the Trade Tool at Basketball-Reference.com, where you can explore every trade in NBA history.

Posted in Advanced Stats, Announcement, Basketball-Reference.com, Data, Tips and Tricks | 2 Comments »

2015 Approximate Value Finalized

3rd February 2016

With the list of 2015 Pro Bowlers added, we were able to complete Approximate Value numbers for 2015. As you were perhaps aware, we had previously released a Provisional 2015 AV, but this work has now been completed with the addition of the Pro Bowl data. As anticipated, the values have not been altered in any significant way with the added values. In fact, the top 20 remained the same. J.J. Watt remains the 2015 leader with an AV of 21, and his 88 AV through five seasons remains the most since 1960 (the first season for which we calculate AV).

Posted in Advanced Stats, Announcement, Data, Pro-Football-Reference.com, Statgeekery | 1 Comment »

Advanced Hockey Stats on Hockey Reference

18th January 2016

If you're among the NHL fans lamenting the upcoming shuttering of War on Ice, we just wanted to remind you of the variety of advanced hockey stats we offer on Hockey Reference. While we're perhaps best known as a repository for historical statistics, we have beefed up our analytics in the last few years. In fact, if you click here, you can conveniently see a menu of our analytics offerings. These include:

Posted in Advanced Stats, Announcement, Data, Hockey-Reference.com, Play Index, Statgeekery | Comments Off on Advanced Hockey Stats on Hockey Reference

LeBron Passes Jordan to Become All-Time VORP King

15th January 2016

LeBron James has moved his career VORP total to 104.46 and now narrowly leads Michael Jordan's 104.44 for most in NBA history. It should be noted that VORP can only be calculated since 1973-74, so Wilt Chamberlain's career is not included (nor are the first four seasons of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's career). VORP was created by Daniel Myers, in conjunction with Box Plus/Minus. Descriptions of the statistics and how they are calculated can be found here.

A comparison of some of their career regular-season advanced statistics can be seen below:

Player G MP TS% TRB% AST% STL% BLK% TOV% USG% OBPM DBPM BPM VORP
LeBron James 947 37062 .581 10.8 34.4 2.3 1.6 12.5 31.7 7.3 1.9 9.2 104.5
Michael Jordan* 1072 41011 .569 9.4 24.9 3.1 1.4 9.3 33.3 7.0 1.1 8.1 104.4
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/15/2016.

As you can see, LeBron has been a slightly more efficient shooter, a slightly better rebounder and a significantly more prolific passer. Jordan, on the other hand, took better care of the ball, had greater usage, and had an edge in steals. Still, while LeBron has a slight 7.3 to 7.0 edge in Offensive Box Plus/Minus, it's his decisive 1.9 to 1.1 edge in Defensive BPM which gives him the edge in VORP despite playing about 4,000 fewer minutes than MJ. This is largely the result of LeBron playing for superior defensive teams throughout his career. When Jordan was winning titles in Chicago, they were elite defensively, but that was not always the case earlier (or later) in his career. Another factor, according to Myers, is that "Jordan's offensive stats look to the regression more like a pure offensive player than LeBron, possibly because they are more guard like. And guards usually have a bit less value on the defensive end."

While VORP is a cumulative stat, BPM is a rate stat which serves as the foundation for VORP. LeBron's 9.2 BPM seems to dwarf Jordan's 8.1 BPM. However, Jordan's BPM is weighed down by his geriatric years in Washington. A more fair comparison might be Jordan's 13 seasons in Chicago compared to LeBron's career (he's currently in his 13th season). As you can see, the numbers are more comparable, with LeBron owning a 9.2 to 9.0 edge in BPM and a 104.5 to 99.8 edge in VORP thanks to his 1,175-minute advantage in playing time (remember, Jordan missed the majority of the 1985-86 and 1994-95 seasons):
Player G MP TS% TRB% AST% STL% BLK% TOV% USG% OBPM DBPM BPM VORP
LeBron James 947 37062 .581 10.8 34.4 2.3 1.6 12.5 31.7 7.3 1.9 9.2 104.5
Michael Jordan* 930 35887 .580 9.4 24.9 3.3 1.5 9.3 33.5 7.7 1.3 9.0 99.8
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/15/2016.
VORP and BPM are not the only advanced metrics we have on the site, however. In the eyes of Win Shares, LeBron still has a lot of work to do in order to catch His Airness. And Jordan himself is only fourth all-time. MJ is, however, the all-time leader in Win Shares per 48 minutes (while LeBron is 6th). Here are their career Win Share statistics compared, followed by a comparison of LeBron to Jordan's 13 seasons in Chicago:
Player G MP PER OWS DWS WS WS/48
LeBron James 947 37062 27.6 128.6 56.6 185.2 .240
Michael Jordan* 1072 41011 27.9 149.9 64.1 214.0 .250
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/15/2016.
Player G MP PER OWS DWS WS WS/48
LeBron James 947 37062 27.6 128.6 56.6 185.2 .240
Michael Jordan* 930 35887 29.1 145.8 58.7 204.5 .274
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/15/2016.
We're agnostics in the greatest of all time arguments, but we wanted to share this information with our users  as we noticed that VORP now has a new King.

Posted in Advanced Stats, Announcement, Basketball-Reference.com, History, Leaders, Statgeekery | 12 Comments »

Provisional 2015 Approximate Value Release

8th January 2016

With the AP releasing it's All-Pro teams today, we have an important piece of information for constructing our 2015 Approximate Values for NFL players. These numbers will change as Pro Bowl rosters change, but these values give a strong estimate of what the final 2015 AV numbers will look like (since All Pro nods have a far greater impact on AV than Pro Bowl nods do). At this time, the provisional leader in 2015 AV is J.J. Watt, with 21. For the time being, Watt's 88 AV through 5 seasons are the most in NFL history (we calculate AV back to 1960). The previous record had been 84 by Thurman Thomas. Something to ponder is that Watt was drafted between Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder in 2011.

As a reminder, Approximate Value is our method (developed by Doug Drinen) for putting a single numerical value on any player's season. You can read all about it here. You can see the all-time leaders in career AV here and the single-season leaders here.

The rest of the top 5 in 2015 Approximate Value can be seen below:

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 3.46.11 PM

 

Posted in Advanced Stats, Announcement, Data, Pro-Football-Reference.com | 2 Comments »

Time on Ice & Shift Details Added to Hockey Reference

20th October 2015

We just wanted to quickly note that we have added new tables of information to the bottom of team pages and also to the seasonal skater registers back to 2007-08.

These tables show average shift length for every player, and also breakdowns of time and performance at even strength, on the power play and shorthanded.

These new tables allow users to dig up the following info, among other things:

We hope you enjoy this new information. If you have any comments or questions, please reach out to us here.

 

Posted in Advanced Stats, Announcement, Data, Hockey-Reference.com | Comments Off on Time on Ice & Shift Details Added to Hockey Reference

Introducing NHL Expected +/-

7th October 2015

Hockey Reference is excited to introduce a new advanced hockey statistic we're calling Expected +/-. This new metric, utilizing league-wide shot location data, shows what we'd expect a player's +/- to be, based on where his team's shots and his opponent's shots came from while we has on the ice in even strength situations. The expected value of these shots is based upon league-wide shooting percentages from the various locations.

We have calculated the statistic for 2014-15 thus far, and will be calculating it for seasons moving forward, as well. As we get more shot location data, these values will eventually be based on three-year rolling averages, but as of now, 2014-15 is based entirely upon 2014-15 shot location data. When we say three-year rolling averages, what we mean is that, eventually, 2015-16 Expected +/- will be based upon shooting percentages from various locations on the ice from 2014-15 to 2016-17.

Here's the 2014-15 leaders:

Rk Player Age Tm Pos GP E+/- ?
1 Patrice Bergeron 29 BOS C 81 21.5
2 Nick Leddy 23 NYI D 78 19.6
3 Anders Lee 24 NYI C 76 19.6
4 John Tavares 24 NYI C 82 19.6
5 Anton Stralman 28 TBL D 82 17.6
6 Ryan Strome 21 NYI C 81 17.5
7 Nikita Kucherov 21 TBL RW 82 17.2
8 Brad Marchand 26 BOS LW 77 17.1
9 Brock Nelson 23 NYI C 82 17.1
10 Joe Thornton 35 SJS C 78 17.1
Provided by Hockey-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/7/2015.

As you can see, the Expected +/- leaderboard differs quite a bit from the actual +/- leaderboard, with only Nikita Kucherov appearing in the top ten of both. Expected +/- can potentially help identify some of the luck factor in raw +/- numbers:

Rk Player Age Tm Pos GP +/- ?
1 Nikita Kucherov 21 TBL RW 82 38
2 Max Pacioretty 26 MTL LW 80 38
3 Tyler Johnson 24 TBL C 77 33
4 Ondrej Palat 23 TBL LW 75 31
5 Jonathan Toews 26 CHI C 81 30
6 Rick Nash 30 NYR LW 79 29
7 Jason Garrison 30 TBL D 70 27
8 Vladimir Tarasenko 23 STL RW 77 27
9 Derek Stepan 24 NYR C 68 26
10 Blake Wheeler 28 WPG RW 79 26
Provided by Hockey-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/7/2015.

Since this metric considers the quality of shots (or at least their point of origin), it has an advantage over blunter instruments, like Corsi, which consider quantity, but not quality. However, unlike Corsi, Expected +/- does not include info on shots that weren't on goal, that were blocked, etc. So we see the stats as good complements for each other.

Currently, Expected +/- can be found for all players on the advanced tab of the 2014-15 Skaters register. Additionally, it can found in the Miscellaneous table on player pages.

On a game level, we have added shot charts to our box scores, as well. In the future, we plan to add heat maps showing shooting percentages by location for players, goalies, teams and league seasons. We will also be incorporating Expected +/- into our Player Advanced Stats Finder to allow for customized searches on this metric.

Finally, we would like to thank Wesley Yue for his valuable contributions to this concept.

Posted in Advanced Stats, Announcement, Data, Hockey-Reference.com | Comments Off on Introducing NHL Expected +/-

7 Ways to Dominate Your Fantasy League with PFR

1st September 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.

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