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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended for most NFL fans, September 1, 2007
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This review is from: Pro Football Prospectus 2007: The Essential Guide to the 2007 Pro Football Season (Paperback)
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 three 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%. DVOA skews negative for better defenses, so top defenses 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, often supplemented with short essays. Each team's entry further lists statistics and analysis of the 2006 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 2007. This year players are also assigned a risk value of green, yellow or red (with one player earning his own ranking of blue).
The last few pages show top 200 player rankings for Fantasy Football, my only resource for my low-intensity preparation for FF 2007. With this information I took Frank Gore at #2 overall in two separate FF drafts.
Last year FP picked within 1.5 wins of the actual total for 14 of the NFL's 32 teams. They missed six teams' respective win totals by 4 or more wins (picking the 10-6 Saints to win 4 games and the 2-14 Raiders to win 8 were the biggest mistakes).
Based on the 2007 projected win totals, FP picks New England, Pittsburgh, Jacksonville and Denver as AFC divisional winners and Philadelphia, Green Bay, Tampa Bay and San Francisco as NFC divisional winners. New England, Jacksonville and Philadelphia were the only teams projected to reach 10 or more wins in 2007.
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 has been 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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K. W. Schreiter
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Location: Conshohocken, PA

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