Plus all the tools and websites that I do use to do what I do: Seaside Joe 1548
I Ben Baldwins RBSDM.com site but with a huge grain of salt.
This salt grain grew to a mountain after week 7, 2019. Washington vs Niners. The game was played in a monsoon of a rain storm. After the game the expected points added (per play) made no sense to me. The game ended 9-0 ... how could Case Keemun have a positive EPA? So I tried to ask Ben. Basically was attacked by Ben and his minions and never received an answer. I think it’s pretty obvious the reason for the attacks is that there is no good answer.
The expected points added stat is extremely skewed towards QBs.
Jimmy G 12/21 146 yards (6.3 y/att) 0 TDs 1 int, 2 sacks -5 yards
Niners running 39 att 137 yards
Keenum 9/12 50 yards 3 sacks -27 yards
Wash Running 26 att 106 yards 1 fumb
How these people can site advanced stats like EPA per play without having a deep understanding of it is shocking.
I still like some of what Ben Baldwin can do with stats (myself reading them not him) but under no circumstances should anyone listen to his opinions, IMO.
I'm consistently impressed with how quickly and completely Ourlads.com maintains their roster/depth-charts database. It's very cool to be able to look back on the depth-chart history as well.
A bit late to the party, you kinda mentioned it, but Football Outsiders is probably dead now.
The writers have been in a pretty long strike, and this is a time of the year where they usually shone. As everyone was making terrible content (here's my top 10 rookie WRs! Antonio Brown showed his dick online! Dan Campbell didn't smile to the reporter! This camp invitee from community college caught an interception in training, he's the next Sherman) the guys would do deep dives on their stats and prepare their Almanac (which in 2022 had the Eagles as the #1 team when mostly everyone else predicted them as an also-ran).
Unlike baseball, where the player can be evaluated in isolation for each at bat and defensive play, football is a team game where it is almost impossible to evaluate the player without knowing the play and the player’s responsibility. Defense is a little easier to evaluate individual players - missed tackle, coverage, pressure, but even that assumes that the evaluation starts with the correct identification of the individual defensive player’s responsibilities for the defense called. Offense and in particular interior offensive line evaluation, however, becomes borderline subjective rather than objective evaluations on too many plays because of the difficulty in identify the player’s responsibility, to have a meaningful evaluation. For myself I feel like offensive lines are better evaluated as a group rather than grading individual players.
PFR, Our Lads and OTC is where I check most of my stats, financials and historical comparisons as well. I have never paid for PFF simply because I agree with you Ken that opinions and formulas that are not supported by other data can indeed be misleading. The late John Clayton I also found an interesting factfinding guru and would find more credibility in his opinions.
The film studies on you tube can be most helpful about understanding defenses and offenses as well as player history/highlights. Sam's Room that shows up on Field Gulls from time to time usually has some great analysis breaking down games and players.
I have always found some of the opinions/breakdowns given by former players like Dave Wyman helpful in undersatdening things from assignments and scheme effectiveness.
Good article Ken.
Ken or anyone,
I use PFF, not for the grades, but for all of the stat info they give on college players.
Do any of those references you mentioned cover college?
I don’t use any of those statistical/analytic sources. I’m just a Hawks fan who subscribes to SJ, in small part because I don’t want to delve into any of that. I trust (and pay) SJ to do a great job with that stuff. For me, the individual and group psychological factors - and human interest content - that affect team outcomes at every level is what would interest me - if I were to do any deeper dive than my SJ subscription.
Perfect timing for this article. Thanks.
Re PFF, Dave Wyman pointed out that even missed blocks are hard to assess if they don't know what the assignment is (which he doubts, since PFF would have to have access to playbooks). E.g., it might look like Damien Lewis missed a block, but that may have happened while he was trying to cover for another lineman's missed assignment.
PFR & OTC give me more than enough as a non-professional to dive deeper into the league and players. I'm always recommending them to people, and normally when i'm comment on cap issues i'll add the note my figures come from OTC.
Ultimately nothing beats watching game tape. But PFR can give me a good overview of things and highlight players/games/things to seek out in that game tape. And it's a great historical reference for various trends and stats when game tape is much harder to find. The wholt Pro "sport" Reference family of sites are amazing!
PFF, as i've said a lot and agree wholeheartedly with Kenny, can do one. It's flashy social media era pushing rubbish, just trying to get out there first to be first and soak up clicks and try to trick people into subscribing.
You've pointed out a few sorcuces i've not yet tried, and will definitely look at. Articles like this are awesome and really really useful! Thanks!
I use PFR a lot. I still like FO and DVOA. I only use OvertheCap because Sportrac scrapes their info anyway. I still regularly use Twitter for football input during the season but that site is slowly imploding. Field Gulls is a good resource for the Seahawks but I rarely visit any other SBNation NFL sites. Another site I occasionally use is Football Zebras, good data on penalties by players and teams.
But PFF is a joke. My biggest complaint about PFF is they rush their player grades out every week during the season, well before anyone has the All-22 for any single game, and then they actually try to argue that those grades are somehow definitive based on watching the BROADCAST edit of the game. Their counter to not having the All-22 is that they revise their grades later but that's all PR, because those grades don't change significantly.
Who at PFF reviews individual player performances? What are their qualifications, background, experience? What is their internal process for grades? Who reviews the reviewers and their grades? There's little to no transparency, so how can I trust anything they do.
I <heart> pro-football reference. It is the ur source for any historical information I post here. You can sort on the columns as well, which can come in very handy.
PFR is how I knew that the Seahawks franchise had drafted 51 WRs total, that only four had contributed as rookies, and that none of those had been taken on Day 3. That helped me conclude that the Seahawks would use one of their first four picks on a wide receiver.
I love PFF! Ok, my version of it:
(A reminder that the PFF score for NFL analysts is the Probably Fibbing Fraudster scale from a formula that I own and will not share--a score of less than 1 is the gold standard for the scale.).
Ken's post-draft score has just been updated and is a sparkling .50! The best on the whole interweb.
I love to read about the tools used. Especially your rationale for using some but not others. It’s one more way to help us understand how you create the wonderful stuff we all consume at Seaside Joe.
I loathe the "turnover worthy plays" stat by PFF; there's no methodology (at least not that I could find) and no video clips showing the plays in order for us to see what they consider turnover worthy outside the obvious dropped INTs.
I feel like any metric worth using should have a clear methodology and should be repeatable by anyone so they can do their own research instead of being reliant on an anonymous person who won't/can't show how they produced their numbers.
I like PFF when it confirms my priors.