Category Archives: Football

My Model Monday: Modeling NFL Injuries

Injuries are inevitable in a game as physical as NFL football. Every season, numerous star players and important contributors are sidelined, leaving their fans and fantasy owners disappointed. Injuries appear to strike at random; an elite athlete can have his knee blown out in one cut like Dalvin Cook last season. However, is there a way to identify if certain players are more injury prone than others? I dug into the data to find out how well we can predict injuries among skill position players in the NFL.
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My Model Monday: NFL Coaches Exceeding Win Totals

Every year in the barren wasteland of the NFL offseason, pre-season win totals are set by oddsmakers for each team, serving as a rough expectation for how many games a given team will win in the coming season (e.g., the New England Patriots currently have a win total of 11 for 2018). I took a look at how coaches have performed against those pre-season expectations, with the idea being that a “successful” season is one in which they exceeded their expected wins. As an example, the 2017 Los Angeles Rams had a pre-season win total of 6, but ended up winning 11 games, so that gives a +5 mark for 1st-year head coach Sean McVay. For coaches with multiple seasons under their belt, we can do that calculation for every season and roll-up the results to give a view of how a given coach has performed against expectations over a long period of time.
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My Model Monday: Wide Receiver Draft Model

This year’s class of players entering the NFL draft lacks real star power at the Wide Receiver position. At first glance, there doesn’t appear to be a cant-miss player like a Julio Jones or Calvin Jonson. However, it’s important to remember that the most dominant receiver in the game today, Antonio Brown, was considered a below average prospect prior to the 2010 draft, and wasn’t picked until the 6th round, after 21 (!) wide receivers already went off the board. It is certainly possible there is another hidden gem hiding in this years crop of Wide Receivers.

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NFL Combine Tool

To use the Combine Tool, enter the name of a player and click go. The charts display that player’s scores in the 6 main NFL Combine drills: 40-yard dash, Broad Jump, Vertical Jump, Shuttle Run, 3 Cone Run, and Bench Press. The Yellow distribution curves show the distribution of other players’ scores from the selected player’s position. The numbers above each chart are the given player’s score for the drill and the percentile that that score falls in relative to other players at that position. The data comes from www.pro-football-reference.com and nflcombineresults.com. Our sample consists of all NFL Combine Invitees from 2005 – 2018. Look up some current and former players, or some players that will be coming off the board in this year’s draft!
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My Model Monday: NFL Team Complain-Ability

Ever since the first Olympic games were recorded in 760 B.C., sports have had an important social component in society. Whether its Baseball in Japan, Soccer in England, or Hockey in Canada, it’s almost impossible to live in a major sports market without being somehow affected by the local sports. While these celebrations of competition and the strive for excellence have brought neighbors together for centuries, there is another tradition that bonds us in a way that is much stronger: the tradition of complaining about our teams. It doesn’t matter if your team is a dominant force, or a bottom-feeding afterthought; we will always find something to complain about. But is it all warranted? Surely there are teams whose suffering has afforded their fans the right to complain more than all the others. In this week’s My Model Monday, I attempt to quantify the factors that lead to this allowance of complaining for each NFL team, and rank each fan base on their comparative level of what I like to call “complain-ability.”
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2017 NFL Win Totals and Elo Ratings

Below is a table of our 2017 NFL Playoff Simulation and Elo Ratings (heading into the Conference Championship games). Tune in for weekly updates to these figures throughout the 2017 NFL Playoffs Season. Our NFL Season Simulator Methodology and Elo Rating Methodology articles provide further explanation in how we calculate the probabilites of each team making it to each round of the playoffs as well as our Elo Ratings, respectively.

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