Top positive review
9 of 9 people found this helpful
Highly recommended for analytical NFL fans
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.