on July 27, 2005
Around this time of year, you see so many magazine stands saturated with fantasy guides showing how to draft. Well, if you want that, with actual reasoning and rationale, check this out. One, it's a great guide if you're a football fan to find out how your team or player will do. But from a f-fball perspective, it gives a great guide to players, sleepers AND busts, and projections for the coming year. If you contact their site and make a small donation to their fund, you can even get a handy spreadsheet for easy handling on draft day.
A must-read, as I've reaped the rewards from the baseball prospectus.
on July 25, 2005
I echo the sentiments of the previous writer. Since the book came in the mail three days ago, I have found it very difficult to put down. In the search for more NFL information, I usually try and catch every NFL show on TV, and I scour the internet. I then usually hear and read such revealing information like "Terrell Owens is on of the best receivers in the game". Really??? Thanks for the inisight!!
Now the search is over. Their statistical analysis is revolutonary. Now you can compare players in specific numerical categories. You can compare offensive lines in several statistical categories. You can also compare the results of defenses guarding the opposing team's #2 WR!! The examples I could use are endless.
They are also thorough. If you play fantasy football, they have stats on almost EVERY skill player that touched the field last year, as well as projections on all of those players this year. For those people that play fantasy football, you know that there are usually a handful of players every year that make a unexpected, significant fantasy impact. These types of players usually get no print in fantasy magazines. Now you have an expansive reference from which you can try and discover the next great unknown. I haven't seen a fantasy football magazine that goes into this much depth.
Words don't do this book justice; You truly have to get the book yourself to see what we're talking about. This book was written for people that can't get enough statistical information, and those that want analysis of that information. If you have an intellectual background, this book will especially appeal to you. The book will also be an excellent reference guide during games. It would be excellent for broadcasters to use as a reference during games. Five minutes after you purchase the book, you will realize that all the other football magazines you have bought in the past are pretty much useless.
on July 22, 2005
A few days ago, this book came in the mail and has since completely changed the way that I look at football. Inside this 440-paged tome includes new statistics: the DPAR, or Defense-Adjusted Points Above Replacement, which rates skill players on how much better they are overall compared to a replacement-level player, keeping in mind the defenses the player faces; its counterpart PAR, which is not defense-adjusted; the DVOA, or Defense-adjusted Value Over Average, which compares any player or team to the average of the specific type; and its counterpart, VOA.
Also included are the KUBIAK projections, which predict and broadcast the statistics of the star quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, kickers and tight ends. This system comes up with some very interesting ideas, such as a major comeback for Matt Hasselbeck, Kevin Jones as the league's leading rusher, a severe decline for Curtis Martin and Antonio gates overtaking Tony Gonzalez as the best fantasy football tight end.
Finally, various research was included in Pro Football, including thoughts on the Maroon Zone of Gregg Easterbrook fame, the effect of schedule on statistics, how offensive and defensive coordinators actually affect a team, and the 100 best quarterback seasons of all time. Without a question, the book that predicted San Diego's "out of nowhere" offensive surge last year will once again be the greatest resource to any fantasy football player or even for someone who really wants to know how the game truly works.
on August 1, 2005
I've read all the previous Football Prospectus (Football Forecast, I believe they were called), and I had always been disappointed by the level of analysis. This year, I wasn't going to buy it, but the addition of Will Carrol, made me reconsider, and I'm glad I did.
This year they finally took the information and stats and put them to use in the team and player comments. In years past, I always felt like the stats were an after thought, and the book felt more like a glorified Fantasy Football magazine. This year, I finally feel like I'm reading something new and interesting, a book not afraid to challenge what we know about football (or support it as the stats bear out).
The book is organized by team sections and then sections in the back with comments on skill players broken out by position. The team sections have an essay about the team and a research piece that is sometimes relevant to the team section sometimes not, but so far they have all been interesting.
If you're looking for help in your Fantasy Football league, this book may be more than you need (which is a compliment in my mind).
Not that it can't help, but for the first time, it feels like the authors are aspiring to reach more than Fantasy Football fans, but real football fans who want to understand their sport better. So Fantasy Fans might be better served with a Magazine or the like.
While the authors don't quite achieve the status of Bill James to Baseball or John Hollinger to Basketball (I highly recommend his Basketball Prospectus), this is good effort towards changing the way you understand football, and next year I will buy it without hesitation.
While this book still suffers from some deficiencies, I think the authors deserve credit for trying to bring football fans to the point of thinking about the game a little differently. They'll never be able to match what BP has done for baseball fans, simply because football doesn't have the depth of stats found in baseball, but they're getting better.
One thing I like about this year's edition is that their player comments seem to have a little more thought put into them than in year's past. In previous editions, they've felt like a hurried add-on to the stats, but they seem more able to stand on their own this time around.
A continuing problem is the seeming lack of an editor, or even someone to make sure that player names are spelled correctly. Really, this is something that shouldn't happen, given that the whole point of your book is to judge these players. It happens on the cover, and it happens several times throughout the book. There are also a number of obvious grammatical errors that should have been caught. They don't take away from the points made by the writers, but they certainly don't help the publication seem very professional.
This isn't something I would think of only for the fantasy fan. I'd consider this important also for those fans looking to learn a little more about certain players, as well as serving as a quick reference resource during the upcoming season. And for fantasy fans, I hope this year's projections at certain positions are better than last year - as an example, Jeff Garcia was ranked near the top of the QB listings last season, and we all know how close he actually came to that! It's always tough to predict performance, but here's hoping they do it this time, considering it's a big part of why this book exists.
on October 27, 2005
Well, I have to say, they did their homework. A lot of what they say is really on target. The book is full of statistics, but also is funny. I found, however, that the inside jokes got old after a while and got in the way of analysis a bit too much. Also, some of the predictions are not exactly correct. For example, they predicted that Detroit Lions running back Kevin Jones would be the best running back in football this year. So far, he has underperformed, with only like 2.4 yards per carry. Overall, this is a solid NFL book, but I won't necessarily use it in my fantasy draft exclusively, like I did this year (they predicted Eli Manning would be mediocre, but so far, he has been excellent and keeps getting better).
on August 18, 2005
Aaron Schatz and the experts at FootballOutsiders.com have put together the best statistical analysis football annual yet. It is easily the best work since "The Hidden Game of Football" in the field of football research. Those fantasy geeks amongst us, however, may be a bit disappointed by its scope. Like their "Prospectus" brethren, this book focuses on more than just fantasy sports methods and strategies. With that caveat, any NFL fan who wants to learn more about their team and their players, needs to check this one out.
on August 27, 2005
The predicted stats seem a little low, but they're all low so it's still a good point of comparison. I think the custom stats are ok, analyzing football stats like baseball stats still has a way to go but this is a good starting spot.
Not perfect but well worth the price. More info than a half dozen fantasy magazines, nowhere near the cost.
on August 19, 2005
Baseball has Sabermatrics - Football HAD yards and touchdowns. As decades of new analysis taught many how to rethink how we evaluate baseball players, football has lagged behind until now. Pro Football Prospectus is an innovative and unique look at pro football, its players, and how to evaluate talent.
The book takes us away from commentators' cliches and into real statistical analysis for all aspects of the offense, defense and special teams. Plus there a literally hundreds of pages of analysis on individual offsensive skill players.
The book is clearly geared to be a 2005 Season Preview (and 2004 review), and it is successful in its task. However, as the preseason has begun, I have found it to be a handy reference guide companion while watching games. For instance, I watched the Saints - Patriots games on Fox. In the opening moments, the broadcasters - Buck and Aikman - discussed how Aaron Brooks yards and TDs last year place him among an elite set of QBs. Brooks and Peyton Manning were the only two QBs last season to throw for 21 TDs and over 3500 yards. Knowing the Saints were not all that good last year, I quickly flipped to Brooks' PFP quick summary. There I found I nice, concise summary of why Brooks' yards numbers give him the appearance of being a great QB, but also why it was deceiving. Buck and Aikman, like many others, were dupped into letting conventional stats fool them. But PFP was right there to set the record straight.
The book is informative and witty, and a must have for any serious pro football fan.
It should be noted that the writers of this book contributed to a book last year called Pro Football Forecast 2004 - as referenced in other comments here at Amazon. However, they were but modest contributors to last year's book, and this effort (teamed up with the always insightful Baseball Prospectus Franchise) is their first of hopefully many endeavors as sole authors!
In spite of its militaristic nature, pro football is sorely lacking in publicly available statistics - especially from a historical perspective. Baseball is king in stat land, but even basketball is doing a better job - and thinkers like Dean Oliver and John Hollinger are providing philosophical breakthroughs. Sadly, Football Prospectus fails where its baseball and basketball versions succeed; in providing us new insight into evaluating individual players and teams. The book is not a pure failure, but one would think that the authors would come up with more original data (and fresher perspectives) than they have. As an alternative, I recommend the timeless HIDDEN GAME OF FOOTBALL.