Tag Archives: Grantland

Is Joe Flacco Elite? Barnwell strikes again!

Bill Barnwell is up to his usual tricks at Grantland. This time, he’s tired of hearing that Flacco is an elite quarterback and wants a new measure of quarterback value. Flacco gets credit for piling up wins, which Barnwell thinks is unfair:

For whatever good or bad Flacco provides, he has spent his entire career as the starting quarterback of the Baltimore Ravens, who perennially possess one of the league’s best defenses. He also has Ray Rice and a solid running game to go alongside him on offense. It’s safe to say that a win by, say, Cam Newton usually requires more work from the quarterback than one by Flacco.

I agree with this wholeheartedly. In response, Barnwell tries to capture quarterback value by creating an “expected wins” measure based on points allowed by the defense and comparing this to actual wins. He argues that a quarterback with more actual wins than expected wins is doing well because he is scoring more points than average.

An example helps explain the concept. First, Barnwell notes that teams have won 86.5% of games recently when allowing between 8 and 12 points. Imagine a team that allows between 8 and 12 points in all 16 games. They are expected to win 86.5% of those games, or 13.8 games. If the team won 14-16 games, Barnwell would argue that the quarterback is doing better than average, while if the team won fewer, Barnwell would argue that the quarterback is doing worse.

As hoped, Flacco is unimpressive by this measure (while the usual suspects — Tom Brady and Peyton Manning — are top dogs). He has 44 wins in 64 regular season games, but because the Ravens D is so good, an average QB would have managed about 42.

Before going farther, I’ll warn you: these numbers are pretty meaningless. I’ll start by explaining Continue reading

The Tank Watch (4/17/2012)

‘Tis the season for tanking! Last week, there were six teams eliminated from the playoffs. The Bobcats and Wizards had lost quite a lot already since then, though the Hornets looked surprisingly good. The Hornets continue to look good, but everyone else is bad bad bad, and the ranks of the eliminated have grown. The Bobcats locked in the worst record last night, but it’s hard to imagine them winning any games the rest of the way, so I’m not sure they can be accused of tanking. They are just a terrible team.

The Tank Watch

The Hornets 6-3 record since playoff elimination is largely due to the return of Eric Gordon (they are 4-1 in recent games when he has played). However, would any team other than the LEAGUE OWNED Hornets bring back Eric Gordon Continue reading

Are the Patriots truly being punished for their insolence?

The last five years for the Patriots would make many people believe in karma. Since Tom Brady left his baby mama Bridget Moynahan for Gisele and Bill Belichick got caught videotaping other teams’ run throughs, here are the Patriots season results:

  • 2007: Crazy late game Super Bowl loss to the underdog Giants
  • 2008: Brady tore his ACL early in the season and they missed the playoffs despite going 11-5
  • 2009: Brady had a stinker in a first round loss to the Ravens
  • 2010: Finished 14-2, but Brady had another stinker in a second round loss to the rival Jets
  • 2011: Brady nearly blew it against the Ravens again in the AFC championship game and they sneaked into the Super Bowl, only to suffer another late game loss to the underdog Giants

Gisele continued her negative influence by blaming the loss on drops by the Patriots receivers (only Aaron Hernandez had a truly bad drop, and it was probably too late to matter). The Patriots have 60 wins over the last five years (12 per year), but no rings. If the Patriots go 15-1 next year and get a rematch with a 9-7 Giants team, the Giants will probably be favored. They can’t get past those guys.

Close games are generally decided by luck — Bill Barnwell gets into this at Grantland, but finds himself backtracking almost immediately to avoid angering Giants fans (“The Giants were not lucky to win Super Bowl XLVI because they fumbled twice and fell on both of them.”). There will be no backtracking from me! The Giants were lucky to win (as the Patriots would have been if they had won). Here’s the way the ball bounced Continue reading

LOS LIIIIIINNNNNNKKKKSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’m starting a new feature today that I’ll run around once a week, or whenever my stash of links hits critical mass (submissions welcome). Here are LOS LIIIINNNKKKKSSS to help get you through Monday afternoon:

Two point or not two point

This NFL season, Bill Barnwell is preaching quant analysis to the masses over at Grantland. My friend Chris linked me to his article yesterday, where he tackles a couple of topics: icing the kicker with a time out and going for a two point conversion. Coaches face these decisions a lot, so I appreciate the effort to tackle them rigorously. However, Chris and I found some flaws in Barnwell’s take.

Warmup: Icing the Kicker  Continue reading