on July 28, 2007
If you're new to the Pro Football Prospectus, some of the statistics they use to evaluate players won't be familiar to you, and can take a little time to get used to. Fortunately, the authors are a rare breed: stat guys who can also write well. Each concept is clearly explained.
This is the third year I've used the PFP to form the basis of my fantasy rankings. Two years ago I made the finals of my 14 team league, and last year I won it all. Their projections aren't perfect, (whose are?) but they have a high batting average, especially in evaluating potential "busts" who will play below their previous level. And to their credit, when they get a prediction wrong, they call attention to it (see their entry on Marcus Colston).
Best of all, it's just a good read. For a book with so much data and statistics, there's a surprising amount of humor. Remember McGahee's comments about Buffalo women being ugly? They did a statistical comparison about the number of Miss America contestants from Buffalo versus Baltimore, McGahee's new home.
Finally, these guys are passionate about the game. Read the entries on Chris Simms and Peyton Manning. They're not just stat geeks - they're true fans. If you want to improve your fantasy team, or just understand football in a way that most TV analysts never will, buy this book.
on July 31, 2007
If you follow the writers' website, Football Outsiders, then you know what this book is all about. If you don't, check the website then buy the book. Whether you are a fantasy player, Monday morning quarterback, or die-hard Sunday fan, this book will shock, educate, and (in case of championship hopes) disappoint.
This is probably one of the rare finds of hard statistical analysis combined with great writing. This book is an easy read, which is surprising because it's stuffed with so much information. Some of the statistical analysis went over my head the first time and had to recall some of my math from school, but the writers do a great job of breaking down their methods and stats in an easy to understand format. If you want to dig deeper into what they do and how they do it, check their website. If you want the Cliff Notes version, check their book.
Unlike baseball, football is an inherently difficult sport to evaluate objectively. With 22 players on the field all running at the same time, it's hard to figure out what makes a play work. Worse, it's hard to find out why it didn't work. I believe they found a way to strip away most of the info-TAINMENT, hype, and color commentary by sportscasters. They don't just make predictions, they back it up with facts. They present their findings on a team-by-team basis, a player/position basis, and add articles about past, present, and future football trends and events that effect your favorite team.
They even stumbled upon a new (relatively new, I think they published their findings in 2006) method to evaluate college quarterbacks taken in the 1st and 2nd round of the draft. So good, a sportwriter from a certain big-name network plaguarized sections of their work.
Each section is short, well-written, and packed with information. Despite how much information they include, this book doesn't take long to read. It took me two days to get through the book, but you could read it in one. However, this won't get old. You will keep checking back to the sections for your fantasy football advice or friendly office pool betting.
Think the Bears will repeat? Check again. Think the Colts will repeat? Maybe, but not the way you'd think. Check their section. Think the Jaguars will stay in mediocrity? Check again. Think the Patriots will repeat? Well, you don't need the book to tell you that one. But it will fill in all the details from the Cardinals to the Vikings. Definitely, a must have.
on September 1, 2007
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.
on July 31, 2007
I basically went through this entire book in one day, but it is formatted in a way that you can skip around alot and keep coming back and learning a little something new each day. I was very pleased to see that they had a detailed review for every NFL team and projections for their performance this year, unlike the Baseball Prospectus book I bought. There are some real shockers as far as expected record and stats for this year for both individual players and teams. The authors present a great case as to why this will happen and historical precedent and statistical evidence to support their conclusions. I find this highly credible, because each season in the NFL only about half the teams make the playoffs the following year. Pro Football Prospectus is going to be my number one resource for fantasy drafts and for handicapping insights to open the new season. Must read for any football fan.
on July 29, 2007
This is your Bible for NFL analysis. You'll love the way scenarios and statistics are broken down to give viable analysis to each NFL player and team. It's good to see someone finally challenge the many cliches and misinformation presented by the talking heads on TV and the internet. They sort of do a "Mythbusters" analysis on everything from "The Rookie Wall" to so-called "Trap Games". Clocking in at over 500 pages it is still a surprisingly quick read and you come out feeling 100 times smarter than when you began reading. If you are in a fantasy football league this will provide you with very useful statistacal analysis of each team and each player. Kudos to Schatz and the other contributors.
on November 6, 2007
If you thought that football was all brawn and no brains, think again. This book really does a great job of analyzing the game of football and showing that it is more than just choreographed violence. The authors offer insights into every team's past (last season) and future (the upcoming season) based on a number of metrics they developed.
I am a huge fan of Baseball Prospectus and I gave this book a shot because Amazon had it cheap and I wanted to see the BP approach applied to baseball. It's definitely not as amazing as the baseball version, but I think that's partly because I'm not familiar with all of the statistics and measurements used throughout the book.
on October 8, 2007
An in depth look at different ways of measuring individual and team
performances, giving readers new insights behind America's greatest game.
Often times, these will point to hidden strengths and weaknesses a year
or two early. Also included are a team projections for the upcoming
season as well as Fantasy Football projections that are often different
than the traditional lists. This is a great book for anyone looking to learn more about both individual players and teams.
on September 5, 2007
This is a great book for many reasons. 1., the rest of your league will all be using the same magazines and you will have unique information. 2., the magazines give you last year's stats, this book provides this year's predicted results. 3., it is a good read.
on September 27, 2007
When you first get this book, it can look a little overwhelming. It is very large, and you may think that much written on football can be a bit much. That is not the case at all. Pro Football Prospectus is a great book, and all football fans that would like a deeper understanding of the game should read this. It breaks down the stats of each team in a whole different way, taking a look at what stats really mean, rather than the number of points scored. There is also a section on fantasy football that is very valuable.
If you want to have a deeper understanding of the game, and look very intelligent in conversations with other football fans, please get this book. you will not be disappointed.
on September 19, 2007
I purchased this for my 13 year old grandson. He was blown away by it. He and I talk sports all the time and therefore I have to be on my toes every minute. He does fantasy sports and he was so excited because he felt that this would help him out. He loved and I was happy to see the excitement as it is difficult to purchase for teenagers and have them be satisfied.