01 Nov 2013
After Calvin Johnson's historic game with 329 receiving yards, I noticed some people suggested him for MVP. If it wasn't for Peyton Manning's season, Johnson may have as good of a case as any right now.
According to Brian Burke's stats for Win Probability Added and Expected Points Added at Advanced NFL Stats, Johnson's on pace for the best WPA season by a non-QB since 1999.
That's even with missing one game, which just so happened to be the worst game of the season for Detroit's offense (season-low nine points) and Matthew Stafford. If he keeps it up, it'll be hard to say he's any less valuable than a player like Adrian Peterson was last year.
Since we know the passing game is far more important to success than running, and if receivers catch the majority of passes and gain most of the yards, then why should we not view them on equal or superior ground to running backs when it comes to value?
So after seeing the decline of the running game this season and how some very good quarterbacks have struggled in the absence of a good receiver(s), I took a look at skill player value based on stats like WPA and EPA. The trends I found were consistent in both despite the fact EPA does not consider score and time remaining like WPA does.
DVOA also confirms the down year for running backs. The average DVOA for a qualified 2013 RB is -3.20%. That's the lowest since 2002 (-3.49%). It's the same result (2013 being the worst since 2002) even if we just look at the top 10 RBs in DVOA.
With another season where the pass ratio is at an all-time high, it's about time we give the game's cockiest position just what they want: more attention.
7 comments, Last at 01 Nov 2013, 5:57pm by StanSellsBoats
Bill Connelly takes a look at the early-season S&P+ outliers and whether his eyeballs agree or disagree with the stats. Spoiler: Alabama is underrated. Alabama! Underrated!