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Football Outsiders DVOA Ratings

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https://www.footballoutsiders.com/dvoa-ratings/2020/week-3-dvoa-ratings
 

The Bills are a very weird, unexpected team so far this year. They have essentially been the exact opposite of what we expected. In Football Outsiders Almanac 2020, we wrote that the Bills might have the best roster in the league outside of the quarterback position. Their defense had our No. 1 projection for the preseason. So what has happened instead? Josh Allen has had a spectacular breakout, currently ranking second behind Russell Wilson in passing YAR. But the Bills rank 28th running the ball and a very surprising 24th on defense. They've scored a ton of points but keep letting opponents back into games. It's not just the blown 28-3 lead against the Rams; Miami was beating Buffalo until 6:03 of the fourth quarter last weekend. The rest of the team is not living up to what Josh Allen is doing so far.

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Ok...I actually read most of that....I...for the life of me....cannot understand what the point of that chart and all the text that accompanied it is supposed to mean.....Seems like a there is an entire industry that exists to explain why W and L is an inadequate force rank of who is best...

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1 minute ago, TH3 said:

Ok...I actually read most of that....I...for the life of me....cannot understand what the point of that chart and all the text that accompanied it is supposed to mean.....Seems like a there is an entire industry that exists to explain why W and L is an inadequate force rank of who is best...

They are basically wondering why our defense sucks so bad to start the year and if Allen and the offense can keep this up.... I didn't realize how often we've started out 3-0/2-1. When was the last time this team started 4-0? 2008?

 

Allen isn't Fitzpatrick though but I don't think the offense will continue to be this dynamic all the way through so the defense better figure ***** out. 

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That is kind of funny.

 

Last year: "This team is incredible Josh Allen needs to stop letting it down."

This Year: "Josh Allen is incredible this team needs to stop letting him down."

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I like the Football Outsiders rating system, in the second half of the season.  They need data for their system to work, and in the beginning of the season, they don't have data.  

 

Their written analysis, however, is pretty bad.  They are so data driven that they look at nothing but the rear view mirror.  Their analysis of where teams are today is not based on actual observation of the team and how it's playing.   

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The chart of worst DVOA of 3-0 teams (1985-2020) toward the beginning of the article cracks me up.   It lists teams with crappy DVOAs that - nonetheless - start the season with three consecutive wins.  Then the chart shows their final season W-L record.


If DVOA was a meaningful statistic, you'd expect these teams with crap DVOAs to finish the season poorly.  Yet most of them do the opposite and finish with a good season record.  So what's the point of DVOA if it doesn't tell us which teams will win and which won't.  At the end of the day, Win-Loss record is the only stat that means anything.  

 

Later, Shatz writes this gem of a paragraph:

 

"One more thing on the subject of the Bills, since I enjoy picking fights with their fans so much. There's absolutely no denying that Josh Allen has been fantastic this season. He even has a positive (3.7%) completion rate over expectation according to NFL Next Gen Stats! We're told that we should have known that Allen was ready to take the leap this season. I certainly didn't hear that expectation from any film experts this offseason, but the numbers especially don't suggest that a huge leap forward was coming."

 

 

That's the thing with statistics.  They describe the past, not the future.  And football is played by people, not numbers.  Throw in the human element and sometimes wonderful things happen.  Allen is coached well and is dedicated to his craft.  Most Bills fans expected Allen to take a step/leap forward this year because we could see the progress in his trade that the number crunchers couldn't encapsulate.   And not just Bills fans, if Schatz didn't hear optimism from the film experts this offseason, he didn't listen to many.  

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3 minutes ago, hondo in seattle said:

That's the thing with statistics.  They describe the past, not the future.  And football is played by people, not numbers.  Throw in the human element and sometimes wonderful things happen.  Allen is coached well and is dedicated to his craft.  Most Bills fans expected Allen to take a step/leap forward this year because we could see the progress in his trade that the number crunchers couldn't encapsulate.   And not just Bills fans, if Schatz didn't hear optimism from the film experts this offseason, he didn't listen to many.  

I mean that's not completely true and is another reason why the guy is wrong. Allen got better from the beginning of his 1st year to it's end and was improved at the start of year 2 as well. He did same thing in year 2 getting better as the year went on. While that's not much data to go on if his data shows him trending up the longer he plays then you have every reason to think he'll be better going into year 3.

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3 hours ago, ScottLaw said:

They are basically wondering why our defense sucks so bad to start the year and if Allen and the offense can keep this up.... I didn't realize how often we've started out 3-0/2-1. When was the last time this team started 4-0? 2008?

 

Allen isn't Fitzpatrick though but I don't think the offense will continue to be this dynamic all the way through so the defense better figure ***** out. 

 Defenses will catch up in a few weeks once film is studied.  Offenses can be defeated.  Takes time.   Bills defense included. 

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Here’s why I don’t like Aaron Schatz and the crew at PFF.  
 

 

This is a clear dig at Bills fans who are slamming Schatz and FO for been completely incorrect on their projection.  It’s also an attempt by FO to qualify their initial projection to connect Allen to Fizpatrick.

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DVOA is pretty iffy the first few weeks of the season, and they'd be the first to admit it. Right now there aren't any opponent adjustments which is probably why the Colts defense is ranked #1 after playing bad Kirk Cousins and normal Sam Darnold in consecutive weeks. Starting next week opponent adjustments will weigh in at 40%, then increase by 10% each week after that. The data starts to be really meaningful around week 8.

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5 minutes ago, JohnNord said:

Here’s why I don’t like Aaron Schatz and the crew at PFF.  
 

 

This is a clear dig at Bills fans who are slamming Schatz and FO for been completely incorrect on their projection.  It’s also an attempt by FO to qualify their initial projection to connect Allen to Fizpatrick.

 

Schatz (what a horrid last name) has basically admitted he was wrong about Allen. Like Shaw said above, their written analysis is so-so but they do stand by their data.

 

Fitzpatrick is an anomaly on his own. He had two incredible starts followed by a massive decline for Tampa Bay in 2018 and Buffalo in 2011. He might be doing the same thing right now with Miami. I've never seen a QB who exclusively plays well in the first 3-4 weeks of a season.

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5 hours ago, Coach Tuesday said:

https://www.footballoutsiders.com/dvoa-ratings/2020/week-3-dvoa-ratings
 

The Bills are a very weird, unexpected team so far this year. They have essentially been the exact opposite of what we expected. In Football Outsiders Almanac 2020, we wrote that the Bills might have the best roster in the league outside of the quarterback position. Their defense had our No. 1 projection for the preseason. So what has happened instead? Josh Allen has had a spectacular breakout, currently ranking second behind Russell Wilson in passing YAR. But the Bills rank 28th running the ball and a very surprising 24th on defense. They've scored a ton of points but keep letting opponents back into games. It's not just the blown 28-3 lead against the Rams; Miami was beating Buffalo until 6:03 of the fourth quarter last weekend. The rest of the team is not living up to what Josh Allen is doing so far.

True

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3 hours ago, hondo in seattle said:

The chart of worst DVOA of 3-0 teams (1985-2020) toward the beginning of the article cracks me up.   It lists teams with crappy DVOAs that - nonetheless - start the season with three consecutive wins.  Then the chart shows their final season W-L record.


If DVOA was a meaningful statistic, you'd expect these teams with crap DVOAs to finish the season poorly.  Yet most of them do the opposite and finish with a good season record.  So what's the point of DVOA if it doesn't tell us which teams will win and which won't.  At the end of the day, Win-Loss record is the only stat that means anything.  

 

A couple points on this:

 

1) Historically 75% of 3-0 teams have made the playoffs (based on a chart I found that used data from 1990-2013). Of the ten 3-0 teams they measured as the worst, six made the playoffs, so 60%. Without checking DVOA you would have assumed 7 or 8 of those teams would have made the playoffs. It's a small sample size but the data is somewhat predictive there.

 

2) Weeks 1 through 3 don't account for opponent at all in DVOA. The Texans and the Colts have played polar opposite schedules this year. The difference in their DVOA right now is not entirely accurate. Even the guys that wrote the algorithm wouldn't call DVOA predictive at this point in the season.

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I think the thing a lot of the prognosticators and statistics guys didn’t even get wrong, but just missed, is how much more raw and behind in his development Allen was than QB’s like Mayfield. 
 

As Joe Marino pointed out last week, there were some scouts who believed Allen literally had thrown 10,000 less passes than Mayfield. If that’s anywhere near true (practice, games etc etc), then Allen was able to get that development time as a pro QB under a stable organization with good coaching and solid talent all around (minus the offense in 2018), and a solid defense that didn’t require too much out of him in order to put wins on the board. 

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In Miami the defense despite having two key LB's out only have up 21 points (7 points in garbage time) it was Josh and the offense stalling at 17 points that led to the deficit. The Rams were held in check in the first half and first half of the third quarter. 

 

And the Rams (who have a top 7 offense) big 29 point rally was aided by 2 turnovers from the offense (one bogus but still.) So while I am concerned about the defense I am not writing them off just yet. 

Edited by billsfan89
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1 hour ago, HappyDays said:

 

A couple points on this:

 

1) Historically 75% of 3-0 teams have made the playoffs (based on a chart I found that used data from 1990-2013). Of the ten 3-0 teams they measured as the worst, six made the playoffs, so 60%. Without checking DVOA you would have assumed 7 or 8 of those teams would have made the playoffs. It's a small sample size but the data is somewhat predictive there.

 

I don't think anyone here needs to go digging, but I wonder what that percentage would be if the 7th spot was included now that we have seven teams go to the playoffs instead of six.

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3 minutes ago, Reader said:

 

I don't think anyone here needs to go digging, but I wonder what that percentage would be if the 7th spot was included now that we have seven teams go to the playoffs instead of six.

I mean there isn't any real digging to be done this is the first year but I'd say it's probably higher.

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"Because Allen is playing so well, it feels like this is the best Buffalo start to the season in quite a long time. It's not. It's really not. Buffalo started 3-0 just one year ago! But it's more than that: Buffalo has made a habit of doing this for years now. For the last decade, no team in the NFL has made a habit of starting strong and then stalling out quite like the Buffalo Bills. This is the seventh season in the last ten where the Bills started the season either 3-0 or 2-1."

 

Hunh. I did not have that sense at all.

 

Very interesting.

 

Thanks for posting it, Coach Tuesday. Interesting and thoughtful.

Edited by Thurman#1

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8 hours ago, hondo in seattle said:

The chart of worst DVOA of 3-0 teams (1985-2020) toward the beginning of the article cracks me up.   It lists teams with crappy DVOAs that - nonetheless - start the season with three consecutive wins.  Then the chart shows their final season W-L record.


If DVOA was a meaningful statistic, you'd expect these teams with crap DVOAs to finish the season poorly.  Yet most of them do the opposite and finish with a good season record.  So what's the point of DVOA if it doesn't tell us which teams will win and which won't.  At the end of the day, Win-Loss record is the only stat that means anything.  

 

Later, Shatz writes this gem of a paragraph:

 

"One more thing on the subject of the Bills, since I enjoy picking fights with their fans so much. There's absolutely no denying that Josh Allen has been fantastic this season. He even has a positive (3.7%) completion rate over expectation according to NFL Next Gen Stats! We're told that we should have known that Allen was ready to take the leap this season. I certainly didn't hear that expectation from any film experts this offseason, but the numbers especially don't suggest that a huge leap forward was coming."

 

 

That's the thing with statistics.  They describe the past, not the future.  And football is played by people, not numbers.  Throw in the human element and sometimes wonderful things happen.  Allen is coached well and is dedicated to his craft.  Most Bills fans expected Allen to take a step/leap forward this year because we could see the progress in his trade that the number crunchers couldn't encapsulate.   And not just Bills fans, if Schatz didn't hear optimism from the film experts this offseason, he didn't listen to many.  

 

 

Stats do indeed describe the past, not the future. So does the eye test. So does every possible form of intelligent looking at data and projection.

 

Predictions, forecasting, foretelling, prognostications and intelligent guesswork ... all of them share the problem that they can't look into the future and see what will happen before they predict it. So yeah, stats have the problem that they can only look at the past ... but they share that with every known form of data gathering. It's not a problem of stats, so much as a problem with the physics that prevent us from managing to travel in time.

 

You can guess about the future. That's actually all you can do about the future. You can make your guesswork as intelligent as possible, and that will absolutely mean looking at the past, including stats, trends, etc.

 

DVOA has proven itself as a good way of predicting. There is no perfect way of predicting and DVOA doesn't pretend to be one. And as Hapless pointed out, DVOA doesn't work as well early in the season (nor does any method of predicting, by the way), but it still has some predictive value from looking at preseason DVOA, which includes the last few games of the previous year, as they do. Put more specifically, it's their other stat, DAVE, which they use early in the season that has significant predictive value early. Like DVOA (and everything else), it's less predictive early than late. But it still has some value.

 

DVOA absolutely is a meaningful statistic, more meaningful than most. But it's far from perfect, and they're totally up front about that. The fact that they're willing to look back at times when DVOA has predicted more poorly reflects well on the openness of their minds and their unwillingness to be blinded by confirmation bias.

 

 

Edited by Thurman#1
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1 hour ago, Thurman#1 said:

"Because Allen is playing so well, it feels like this is the best Buffalo start to the season in quite a long time. It's not. It's really not. Buffalo started 3-0 just one year ago! But it's more than that: Buffalo has made a habit of doing this for years now. For the last decade, no team in the NFL has made a habit of starting strong and then stalling out quite like the Buffalo Bills. This is the seventh season in the last ten where the Bills started the season either 3-0 or 2-1."

 

Hunh. I did not have that sense at all.

 

Very interesting.

 

Thanks for posting it, Coach Tuesday. Interesting and thoughtful.

 

See I did I have pretty much got used to us getting off to starts in the last decade or so. The first Marrone year and the second Rex year the exceptions. Our problems have generally come in the meat of the schedule in the middle where we couldn't get out of our way.....

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