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on August 28, 2006
Like its sister publication `Baseball Prospectus', this book is stuffed with information. `Standard football statistics are heavily context dependent - the down, distance, the location on the field, the time remaining - all of these elements influence both the goal of the play and its outcome.' The Football Prospectus team strives to improve conventional football statistics by `filtering out context-dependent effects' with mathematical formulas to best anticipate the results of the coming season. The authors claim to have predicted more playoff teams over the last two seasons than any other major football medium.
`Defense-Adjusted Value Over Average' (DVOA) is the primary criterion - this compares specific plays, players and teams to the league average. Top players have DVOAs near 30% - Peyton Manning had a 41.7% DVOA in 2005 while Brett Favre's was 1.8%. DVOA skews negative for better defenses, so top defenses like the 2005 Bears approach a -30% DVOA. The authors also use 'Defensive-Adjusted Points Above Replacement' (DPAR) to measure a player's impact for an entire season. For example, if a player dominates in his first few games but then suffers a season ending injury, he is of little overall value to his team that season. Accordingly, he will have a high DVOA but a low DPAR. The introduction offers simple explanations of the complex statistical analysis, but the book can also be enjoyed without studying the authors' methodology.
The first half of the book contains an informative and entertaining write-up for each NFL franchise. These capsules are often supplemented with short essays like `Do NFL Teams Get Jet Lag' for the Oakland Raiders and `How Impressive are Adam Vinateri's Clutch Field Goals' for the New England Patriots. Each team's entry further lists statistics and analysis of the 2005 schedule, five-year trends, strategic tendencies, and rankings at all positions.
The book's second half includes expanded capsules for all individual quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends and kickers. Each capsule lists both statistics for the past three years and a projection for 2006.
The last few pages show top 200 player rankings for Fantasy Football, my only resource for my low-intensity preparation for FF 2006. While the few grammatical and spelling errors are unfortunate, consideration must be given to the timeliness of the information and accompanying rush to printing. This book is an outstanding preseason resource and I plan to reference it often during the coming season. Very highly recommended for any NFL fan looking for more than the standard cliches from the major media outlets.
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on August 11, 2006
A long time reader of the Baseball Prospectus series, I decided to pick up a copy of the Football Prospectus to see if it was as enlightening. The book begins with a chapter explaining all the statistics that are presented throughout the book. This section is a must because in addition to the standard statistics the NFL keeps, there is an abundance of new statistics, most of which are completely unique to this publication. The next section contains 7 or 8 pages devoted to each NFL team, complete with countless statistics, 2 or 3 pages of written analysis, and a couple short essays. There is then a section where each NFL skill player is evaluated with a short paragraph and their statistical line. The end of the book contains a short fantasy football section and finally some other essays related to the statistical analysis of football.

This book offers something no other football magazine or publication can offer. That is an objective, statistic based approach to solving not just what teams will win and what players will be productive, but WHY certain teams will win and WHY certain players will be productive.

The reason I say this book is not for the average football fan is because the average fan may find it too complicated and difficult to understand. Similar to the Baseball Prospectus, many of the statistics presented here are hard to grasp because they are new and some people won't want to take the time to learn how they work.

Note: Fantasy football players beware. Don't plan on relying on this book alone for your fantasy draft. Despite the small fantasy section in the back, the entire book is too complex to skim through for 30 minutes before the draft and succeed. Fantasy magazines are better for that. If you have the time though, reading the book and understanding the statistics just might be able to win the league for you.
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on August 20, 2006
I've been a reader of [...] for about two years. After reading numerous articles, I still can't figure these guys out. They can be downright hilarious at times, get all serious and scientific later, and yet on every single article you'll find something, big or small, that slowly changes the way you look at games, and at the sport as a whole.

Many people regard them as "stats geeks" and complaint that you need a math degree to understand their articles; however, that's not true. If you don't have any mathematical background, you can simply skip the tables, graphs and numbers, and go straight to the commentary, in plain english. However, taking the time to learn where they're coming from (which they also explain, on the site and in the book) makes the experience all the richer, leaving you with that "wow... that's good" feeling.

This book (and last years' edition) lets you have some very interesting new analysis at the tip of your hands. While it might sometimes seem harsh (particularly if you're a homer, for any team) it's the most accurate I've read about my team or any other. I really can't overstate just how groundbreaking the numbers are - pointing out things that you just know about your team, that no one else even notices, while backing it up with solid mathematical bases. For three years now, they've been predicting stuff no one else could, and the principles of it all are really very simple. As for the book itself, the fact that they have a chapter for every team gives it the feel of a preview magazine, even though the content is far (trust me - FAR) superior than that of any magazine in the market. It has commentary on every single skill player in the league, and it will most definitely help you if you're into fantasy football.

All in all, this is one of about 10 books I would definitely recommend to anyone that follows football. And rest assured, these aren't guys that got into this for the money, or are just doing their job and "mailing it in" - these are guys that truly love the game, and that, on top of everything else, gives this book a feel that you won't find anywhere else.
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on November 4, 2006
Wow. So much information. It is very in depth and was much more information than I thought could ever be out there. Used it for drafting and was able to pick a few gems that no one else in our league new about.
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on November 3, 2006
Pro Football Prospectus 2006 is as good if not better than Pro Football Prospectus 2005. The information and statistics are first rate and their articles and analysis are excellent.

At our Fantasy Draft I got several odd looks for my picks but I got the last laugh as Schatz and company's predictions began to come true.

I used to get 3-5 magazines per seaons, now I just get Pro Football Prospectus.
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on August 30, 2006
These guys know football. There is no stone unturned here. I'm counting on no less than first place in all 6 of my fantasy leagues with this as my manual. A breakdown of every player and his value and stats with predictions on breakouts and busts. Every team is is also described with all strengths and flaws exposed.
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on November 2, 2006
Since this is the kind of publication that is updated yearly, one can see where it can be improved and one would expect that improvement.

What is primarily frustrating to me (maybe not to others) is the lack of a cohesive overview of teams that puts all the facets of a team analysis together and adds it up to produce an outlook for the upcoming season, taking into account the schedule. Yes, they do mention a projected win total but you don't see the components that comprise it.

In other places the book declares that you can't tell whether a quarterback was that good or if it was the receivers or vice versa. You'd think that this is precisely what the book should have been going after. There are other similar situations - how much of a team's success in running the ball is the running back or the offensive line? Or the scheme they run? It's not easily discernible. Again, you'd think that this would be exactly the point of the book - determining the actual contributions of the individual components and then summing them up to project expected results for the coming year.

Since this kind of mathematical analysis of football is new, there is a lot of room for improvement. Still, it's a start.
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on November 2, 2006
the guy I bouhgt it for found it enlightening and a fun read.
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on February 8, 2015
Great book - prompt shipping!
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on August 30, 2006
While this book may not falsely advertise what it contains, most anyone who picks it up probably happened upon it via familiarity with Baseball Prospectus which, geeky rep aside, does deliver some interesting and relevent statistical driven information that seem predicated on the inner-workings of the game. It's far from definitive, but you have plenty to dig into at leaast.

Football Prospectus on the other hand delivers..fluff. Yes they've formulated a player evaluation system that seems novel, but really thats all I saw as I glanced through the book before setting it aside to rarely be cracked again.

In some instances they admit their analysis is incomplete with the request that reader's "check back next year" (in particular regarding how to divide responsibility for incompletions between the quarterback and his receiver to say nothing of the other 20 players on the field)

I think this content should've first been presented, discussed, and to some degree 'vetted' online even if the website was Premium and charged some nominal monthly fee. The authors make some interesting points, although in some cases I think they need to distance themselves further from the Bill Jamesian bunk (the annoyingly ubiquitous Replacement Level Player concept that purports to solve a problem that doesn't exist).

This type of sports analysis is still a fledgling pursuit and I don't think this book advances the cause at all, that cause being to remove the Troy Aikman/Joe Buck losers from the booth who do nothing but expound on the QB for 2.5+ hrs every game.

In a way George W Bush is the quarterback of American politics. One guy on the team, who quite probably couldn't score a 6 on his Wonderlic test (here's looking at you, Vince) who gets the credit for every positive and every ill beseting the entire team (Team America). Now there's an insight worth $15, which is more than I can say for Football Prospectus, sadly. Next time you hear John Madden prattling on about the glory of Brett Favre -- and don't worry you WILL -- chew on that.
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