DVOA Analysis
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DPAR is Dead

by Aaron Schatz

It's a big day around Football Outsiders. We've now officially put the KUBIAK fantasy football projections on sale. You can purchase them either alone for $20 or in a package with Premium DVOA Database access for $50. (This year, there is no coupon code to get $10 off Premium later on -- you need to purchase them both together at the same time to get the discount.) We've also put the 2008 game charting data in the store; you can purchase that for $60.

We also found out that Pro Football Prospectus 2008 is now shipping from online booksellers. In fact, we even have a reader who found a copy in a Barnes and Noble last Thursday. As longtime FO readers get their hands on America's number one preseason football guide and smash-tastic weapon of mass mosquito destruction, they will page through to look at the comments on their favorite players, and immediately wonder one thing.

Where the hell is the DPAR?

The newfangled statistics we feature here at Football Outsiders are by no means a finished product, and we are always looking for ways to improve them. The best time to do that is usually the offseason, where we can introduce the changes when we publish the new version of PFP. That's what we did when we updated team DVOA to the current "version 5.0" in 2007. This year's project was to work on the individual stats, which needed to be improved in two ways: accuracy and accessibility.

The new version of individual DVOA is based on five years worth of data, 2003-2007, and has a number of changes that will bring them in line with the changes we made the year before in team DVOA.  Individual DVOA ratings now use more complicated (and accurate) opponent adjustments. Passing and receiving DVOA now includes defensive pass interference as a positive play, just like team DVOA does. We found that while there's no correlation from year to year in how often a player gets DPI, the year-to-year correlation of (catches + DPI) is slightly higher than the year-to-year correlation for just catches. In addition, the bonus for plays in the red zone for individual DVOA has been dropped to 10 percent, as opposed to 20 percent for team DVOA. This improved DVOA correlation for players from season to season.

Once we had improved the individual baselines and opponent adjustments, the next step was to improve the accuracy of "replacement level." Originally, we estimated replacement level by simply using a scale similar to the one our partners at Baseball Prospectus use for hitters and pitchers, putting replacement level about three-eighths of the way between average (0%) and the worst starters in the league. For example, since the worst quarterbacks are usually around -35% DVOA, the replacement level was -13.3% DVOA. It was time to come up with something we felt was more accurate than "this is sort of based on what BP does."

For quarterbacks, we analyzed situations where two or more quarterbacks had played meaningful snaps for a team in the same season, then compared the overall DVOA of the original starters to the overall DVOA of the replacements. We did not include situations where the backup was actually a top prospect waiting his turn on the bench, since a first-round pick is by no means a "replacement-level" player. By comparing the replacement-level quarterbacks to the quarterbacks they replaced, as well as the quarterbacks who played the entire season, we determined that the replacement level for quarterbacks is roughly -12.5% DVOA, fairly similar to what we had before.

The same is not true at other positions. There was no easy way to just separate running backs and receivers into "starters" and "replacements," since unlike at quarterback, being the starter doesn't make you the only guy who gets in the game. Instead, we decided to use a simpler method. First, we ranked players at each position in each season by attempts. The players who made up the final 10 percent of passes or runs were split out as "replacement players" and then compared to the players making up the other 90 percent of plays at that position. This took care of the fact that not every non-starter at running back or wide receiver is a freely available talent. (Think of Jerious Norwood or Anthony Gonzalez, for example.) Replacement level is now higher in most ways, but by different degrees, and replacement level actually went down for both running back receiving and wide receiver rushing


Measurement Old New
Passing -13.3% -12.5%
QB rushing -17.1% -12.5%
RB rushing -13.7% -8.0%
RB receiving -9.8% -12.6%
WR receiving -12.7% -7.6%
TE receiving -15.0% -12.3%
WR/TE rushing -26.0% -43.0%

That takes care of the improvements to accuracy, but what about accessibility? This has admittedly been a problem at Football Outsiders since the very beginning. The challenge of any new stat is to present it on a scale that's meaningful to those attempting to use it. DPAR (Defense-adjusted Points Above Replacement) came about because the DVOA system measures success in "success points" that represent yardage and progress towards a first down all wrapped together. Saying that Carson Palmer was worth 106.3 success value points over replacement in 2007 has very little value without a context to tell us if 106.3 is good total or a bad one.

The solution to this problem was to translate "success points" into "actual points." I put together a complicated spreadsheet that estimated how many "success points" ended up in X number of points scored, combining both offense and defense, and we used that estimate to translate success values into DPAR. For example, Carson Palmer in 2007 was worth 51.8 passing DPAR.

Unfortunately, DPAR isn't exactly the easiest thing to understand either. The reason is obvious: Do you know anyone who refers to a player's value by how many points he scored? I mean, we know touchdowns are six points, and we talk about kickers in terms of points when we talk about fantasy football, but people don't think of football players in terms of points. They think in terms of yards.

Therefore, along with the new set of replacement baselines comes a new way to think about Football Outsiders' advanced stats for individual players: DYAR, or Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement. Carson Palmer's season is now worth 1,215 DYAR, which ranked sixth in the NFL last year. By comparison, Jeff Garcia's season was worth 694 DYAR, Rex Grossman's season was worth -168 DYAR (yes, below replacement level), and Tom Brady's season was worth an all-time record 2,788 DYAR. Turning "success points" into yards was actually easier than turning "success" into points, since we happen to have tangible yardage totals for all the players we are measuring.

Here's a comparison of the top players in 2007 according to the old method (DPAR) and the new method (DYAR).


Old Method
Player DPAR
12-T.Brady 200.6
18-P.Manning 133.5
4-B.Favre 102.9
9-D.Brees 100.6
9-D.Garrard 91.2
9-T.Romo 89.1
9-C.Palmer 84.6
8-M.Hasselbeck 78.2
7-B.Roethlisberger 75.2
6-J.Cutler 72.1
New Method
Player DYAR
12-T.Brady 2,788
18-P.Manning 1,841
4-B.Favre 1,438
9-T.Romo 1,297
9-D.Brees 1,285
9-C.Palmer 1,215
9-D.Garrard 1,086
6-J.Cutler 972
8-M.Hasselbeck 937
3-D.Anderson 797

There are a number of reasons why players shift around a little with the new DYAR values. Drew Brees is hurt by the slight rise in replacement level, because he had so many pass attempts. The more complex, more accurate opponent adjustments make the difference between DVOA and VOA smaller for some players (Tony Romo) and larger for others (Ben Roethlisberger, who now ranks 11th). Changes in the baseline for various down-and-distance situations will have a small impact on every player, in ways that are hard to see without breaking it all down. Of course, small changes in our stats should not be treated as gospel truth. We believe the new individual baselines and formulas are more accurate, but it is possible that the next time we improve things, David Garrard's 2007 season will move back ahead of Tony Romo's 2007 season. So don't flip out when, for example, the 1995 quarterback stats finally go up and you see that Brett Favre's MVP season, which was number one when I first ran the numbers, now has a passing value 30 DYAR behind Scott Mitchell and 22 DYAR behind Erik Kramer.

The changes are larger when we look at old individual DVOA and new individual DVOA, primarily because improving opponent adjustments tends to move extremely high and low DVOA ratings towards the mean. Minimum 100 passes here, as usual.


Old Method
Player DVOA
12-T.Brady 62.1%
9-D.Garrard 49.5%
15-T.Collins 49.3%
18-P.Manning 43.9%
4-B.Favre 29.7%
7-B.Roethlisberger 28.0%
7-J.Garcia 25.9%
9-T.Romo 24.7%
18-S.Rosenfels 21.8%
6-J.Cutler 20.5%
New Method
Player DVOA
12-T.Brady 56.9%
18-P.Manning 40.6%
9-D.Garrard 37.4%
15-T.Collins 31.6%
4-B.Favre 28.0%
9-T.Romo 25.5%
18-S.Rosenfels 24.3%
5-Q.Gray 20.9%
9-C.Palmer 20.1%
7-J.Garcia 19.5%

Translating player performance into yardage rather than points allows us to introduce one more statistic, which we hope will make Quick Reads much more accessible to the general population of football fans. The new stat is called Equivalent Yards (EqYds). It is very simple: Equivalent Yards (EqYds) are DYAR with replacement-level performance added back into the total. This provides an easy comparison: in general, players with more Equivalent Yards (EqYds) than standard yards played better than standard stats would otherwise indicate, while players with fewer Equivalent Yards (EqYds) than standard yards played worse than standard stats would otherwise indicate.

(Note July 8: Unfortunately, as some readers have noticed, Equivalent Yards (EqYds) does not seem to be showing what we thought it was supposed to show. We're looking into how we can fix it.)

Here's the same list of top ten quarterbacks from 2007 in DYAR, along with the top ten quarterbacks in Equivalent Yards (EqYds) and in standard passing yards.


Top 10 Passing Yards
Player Pass Yds
12-T.Brady 4,806
9-D.Brees 4,423
9-T.Romo 4,211
4-B.Favre 4,155
9-C.Palmer 4,131
8-J.Kitna 4,068
18-P.Manning 4,040
8-M.Hasselbeck 3,966
3-D.Anderson 3,787
6-J.Cutler 3,497
Top 10 Equivalent Yards (EqYds)
Player True Yds
12-T.Brady 6,428
9-D.Brees 5,355
18-P.Manning 5,008
4-B.Favre 4,703
9-C.Palmer 4,668
9-T.Romo 4,439
8-M.Hasselbeck 4,425
8-J.Kitna 3,894
3-D.Anderson 3,824
6-J.Cutler 3,808
Top 10 DYAR
Player DYAR
12-T.Brady 2,788
18-P.Manning 1,841
4-B.Favre 1,438
9-T.Romo 1,297
9-D.Brees 1,285
9-C.Palmer 1,215
9-D.Garrard 1,086
6-J.Cutler 972
8-M.Hasselbeck 937
3-D.Anderson 797

Obviously, Equivalent Yards (EqYds) are not the best way to measure value because they are heavily dependent on usage. That's why Jon Kitna and his 616 pass attempts (including DPI and sacks) rank eighth in Equivalent Yards (EqYds). The fact that Kitna has more actual yards than Equivalent Yards (EqYds), however, gives a clear indication that Kitna's performance was generally below average (-1.2% DVOA, to be exact).

For those curious, the replacement level is 4.93 yards per pass attempt. However, it is 5.63 yards per equivalent pass attempt, "equivalent pass attempts" being the translation of the "league-average" baseline on all that quarterback's passes into a pass attempt number. The reason for the difference is that there end up being more "success points worth of pass attempts" than there are actual total pass attempts. Yes, this is complicated, but the good news is that nobody needs to see the gears behind the curtain on a week-to-week basis.

The colors in that table reflect that numbers on the player stats pages will now be color-coded. DYAR and DVOA, the main opponent-adjusted stats, will be blue. Equivalent Yards (EqYds) will be red. Everything else will be the usual black.

How will this affect Quick Reads? The plan is to still list players by DYAR, but to give an example, here are the top quarterbacks from Week 14 of 2007 in standard passing yards.

That was the week Peyton Manning eviscerated Baltimore on Monday Night Football, with 249 yards on just 17 passes, while Tom Brady threw for nearly 400 yards against Pittsburgh. You can see how things change when we look at the same quarterbacks through the lens of Equivalent Yards (EqYds) and DYAR.


Player Opp PaYd Comp Att TD INT Sack True
Yards
DYAR
12-T.Brady PIT 399 32 46 4 0 0 569 285
13-K.Warner SEA 337 28 46 4 5 5 337 20
9-D.Brees ATL 328 28 41 3 0 0 429 169
9-T.Romo DET 302 35 44 2 0 3 404 107
8-C.Redman NO 298 23 39 3 1 3 220 -15
14-B.Griese WAS 295 27 43 0 2 2 296 42
11-K.Clemens CLE 286 24 39 0 2 4 199 -48
8-M.Hasselbeck ARI 272 22 32 4 0 2 342 142
12-L.McCown HOU 268 25 38 0 0 4 252 -3
4-B.Favre OAK 266 15 23 2 1 0 248 119
18-P.Manning BAL 249 13 17 4 0 0 322 228
8-J.Kitna DAL 248 22 36 0 0 1 299 87

It might sound like things will get confusing with all these stats, but it won't, because not every one of these stats will exist from here on out. As of August, Football Outsiders will never be using DPAR again. Pro Football Prospectus 2008 lists all players in DYAR, and we'll list all players with DYAR and Equivalent Yards (EqYds), not DPAR. Right now, the 2007 stats pages have been changed to represent DYAR instead of DPAR. You can take a look at quarterbacks, running backs, tight ends, or wide receivers. Over the next couple weeks, I'll be writing a series of articles looking at the best and worst seasons and games of the DVOA Era (1995-2007) according to the new stats. As we do each position, we'll put up all the DYAR and Equivalent Yards (EqYds) stats going back to 1995. Yes, finally.

Comments

230 comments, Last at 17 Aug 2008, 8:32am

1 Re: DPAR is Dead

So in short, true yards measures how many yards a QB would have passed for against a replacement level defense that day?

2 Re: DPAR is Dead

But how do I pronounce it?

3 Re: DPAR is Dead

2: You pronounce it "jar." Sorta like how "D'Yer" isn't pronounced duh-yer.

4 Re: DPAR is Dead

2: I prefer a pirate-y approach to pronunciation, with Dee-Yarrr.

5 Re: DPAR is Dead

It was a common joke when I started doing this that Tampa Bay always leads the league in YAR.

By the way, I'll try to answer the inevitable DYAR questions that will be coming in this discussion thread, sometime in a mailbag later this week.

6 Re: DPAR is Dead

no, its dee-yar and say the 'yar' like the sea captain from the simpsons.

"deyaaaaaaaaaar"

7 Re: DPAR is Dead

D'Yarrrr is great!
Because that's Pirate and Pirates are the chosen people.
There is a strong correlation between the decline of Pirates since the 1800's and global warming since then.
RAmen

8 Re: DPAR is Dead

I second those who prefer the pirate pronunciation.

9 Re: DPAR is Dead

+1 for the pirate pronunciation.

10 Re: DPAR is Dead

Still no WinEx or leverage-adjusted stats.

As they say on the north side, "there's always next year."

11 Re: DPAR is Dead

I like the new stat and adjustments.

It seems to fit more closely with my perception of how individual players performed on the Vikings.

12 Re: DPAR is Dead

Because a good 'yar!' should come from the back of the throat, shouldn't there be an umlaut? And if there's an umlaut, shouldn't it be printed in a gothic font?

13 Re: DPAR is Dead

If we're going with the pirate pronunciation for DYAR, can we rename KUBIAK to SYMONS? KUBIAK has always bothered me, because my mother, who'd be hard-pressed to name more than 10 NFL players, recognized immediately it referred to Gary Kubiak, who was John Elway's backup. With Kubiak now being an NFL head coach and thus not at all obscure, renaming it seems appropriate.

And who better to rename it for than B.J. Symons?
(1) He's obscure, and will likely remain so.
(2) He was a draft pick of the Houston Texans, the team Kubiak now coaches.
(3) He played his college football at Texas Tech for noted pirate aficionado Mike Leach.
(4) TTU QBs put up ridiculous fantasy stat seasons, without necessarily being particularly good players.
C'mon, who's with me on this?

14 Re: DPAR is Dead

#13: Clever, but SYMONS fails for one important reason: unlike KUBIAK (and PECOTA, for that matter), SYMONS doesn't sound like a name of a computer from the '40s.

15 Re: DPAR is Dead

KUBIAK projections:

Tom Brady is listed as Red (High) risk.

I think you probably rushed the spreadsheet out the door, which is fine, but I hope a fix is in the making.

16 Re: DPAR is Dead

15: Why is that bad? Red means he is likely to fall short of the projection for whatever reason (not just injury).

17 Re: DPAR is Dead

16: His projection is for a reasonable 37 touchdowns, and his overall point total is only a couple higher than that of Manning, who is Green. Brady is obviously not meant to be Red, which is used for players likely to miss playing time due to injury or benching. Neither one has happened to Brady in his career. Also, Brady was ranked above Manning in the KUBIAK preview posted a while ago. It's an oversight.

I have more KUBIAK questions and complaints and stuff, but I'm not sure if this is the right venue.

18 Re: DPAR is Dead

Rex Grossman played below replacement level? C'mon, you didn't need all that newfangled mathematics to figure that one out, did ya?

19 Re: DPAR is Dead

I'll admit to being diappointed with the shift to DYAR - I always thought that DPAR was pretty intuitive, and hasn't one of the site's frequently made points been that yardage is a very flawed statistic for making comparative judgments about players? Sure, this is "DYAR" or whatever, but that's pretty nonsensical to me. What are these yards that are better or worse than actual yards? "True" yards seems silly - a true yard is 36 inches. When Tom Brady completes a pass, do his superhuman powers over space and time shorten that yard to 30 inches, making it easier for his team to march down the field?

I mean its just a collision of the abstract and the concrete that strikes me as being incredibly silly, and a needless attempt to dumb something down that wasn't particularly esoteric in the first place. It actually makes a hell of a lot more sense to me to think of Carson Palmer as, over the course of a season, being about ten touchdowns better than a replacement quarterback, rather than 1,215 imaginary yards better. Maybe this is because this site has done such a good job of training me not to look at yardage, but if you wanted to see how many [b]yards[/b] better one player is than another, wouldn't you just look at, y'know, their actual yardage and yards per attempt numbers?

The more I think about it, the dumber it seems. There's really no arguing about what constitutes a yard, whereas there's plenty to be parsed out when it comes to trying to figure out how much some players contribute (or fail to) to the success of their offenses. Which is measured in points.

Anyway, that's just the 2 cents of a longtime reader and rare commenter. It's nice to see the DVOA tweak, which with the given examples corresponds more closely to my own intuitive judgment of qbs last year than the previous numbers (and I guess corrolates more nicely).

20 Re: DPAR is Dead

How does anyone know if any of the stats make sense? Do they double count things? What aspects of performance are used, and how are they weighted? Etc?

21 Re: DPAR is Dead

Brady would be listed as a high risk for missing his projected TD total. There's no doubt that he's an excellent QB, but he's never been a stat machine. For a guy coming off a 50 TD season and a devastating loss, I wouldn't be surprised if he breaks 30 TDs.

The reason Manning is listed in green is because he routinely generates big numbers, and is realistically capable of breaking the single season TD record every season.

22 Re: DPAR is Dead

I would second the confusion a FO thinking "yards" was somehow easier to understand than points. Sounds like a statistic fox would cook up. PAR is pretty damn straightforward if you ask me.

Alas it doesn't really matter to me I guess as I will understand what you are getting at either way.

23 Re: DPAR is Dead

I second #19. I picked up PFP08 yesterday and haven't put it down since, but I'm not sure I like DYAR -- isn't the whole point to move beyond yards and think about what actually helps teams win games? You don't win by getting more yards than the opponent, you win by scoring more points, and that was one of the big appeals of DPAR. I like the adjustment to DVOA and the replacement level, but I think you've unintentionally muddied the water by switching from DPAR to DYAR.

24 Re: DPAR is Dead

It'll be fun to see what the mainstream audience thinks of this.

25 Re: DPAR is Dead

19: I agree to some extent. One question is what sort of yards these are. A yard that counts towards a new first down is far more valuable than a yard that doesn't. The difference between three and four yards on first and ten is huge, whereas the difference between a 23 yard pass or a 24 yard pass on first and ten is negligible. Points are points, but yards have very situational value.

21: Again, it's true that Brady's projection is pretty unstable; he could go anywhere from 28 to 48 TDs and not surprise anyone. But that's not what the Red risk level has meant in the past few KUBIAK spreadsheets.

26 Re: DPAR is Dead

It's disappointing that I order my copy of PFP months ago and here I sit waiting while all I had to do was wait for it to come out and go to the bookstore.

I pre-ordered and pre-paid.

27 Re: DPAR is Dead

That's exactly the thing, thanks for putting it that neatly - yards are situational in value, whereas points are static. Which is what makes DPAR a far more comprehensible way of presenting the statistic to me.

28 Re: DPAR is Dead

Here is another dirty little secret MSC. Casual customers are a lot more important and treated better than loyal ones (Obviously this isn't 100% true, but it generally is).

Companies are out to get the most money, not give out the most satisfaction or fairness. As long as you are just satisfied enough to be a customer, thats good enough.

29 Re: DPAR is Dead

Wow, does 26 sound crappy. It was intended to be somewhat backhanded but not as strong as that. Sorry.

BTW. I wait for my copy of the book so I can deep dive these new stats a little more before rendering my opinion.

30 Re: DPAR is Dead

Count me among those not happy with the change.

You ask: "Do you know anyone who refers to a player’s value by how many points he scored?"

One of the things I love about this site and DPAR is that it gave a way to compare how many points a player contributed compared to another player. So that one could say "Tom Brady's performance last year contributed about 120 more points than Carson Palmer's." That makes sense to me, it tells me in terms I can easily understand how much a player helped his team compared to another.

This DYAR stat confuses me. Of course it could be because it's new. But one of the basic lessons I heard early on from FO is that yards is not a good basis of measuring players; instead, by considering performance in the context of the game situation and opponent, we can measure how much a player helps his team score points. If this were baseball, it would be like telling me how many more adjusted hits a player got rather than his VORP.

I assume the FO staff deliberated on this decision and isn't about to reconsider, but I wish that they would.

31 Re: DPAR is Dead

Stats are stupid

32 Re: DPAR is Dead

Loyal is right Becephalus. I'm such a flunkie that, when my wife threw out PFP2005 during our last move, I made her buy me another copy.

33 Re: DPAR is Dead

It will be interesting to watch the debate of DYAR, and I hope and expect Aaron will answer some of those questions being asked.

However, there is no need to debate which was the best way to buy the book, or imply that FO is somehow responsible for the fact that someone preordered and is still waiting their book (or imply that FO is somehow mistreating loyal customers versus casual customers). You either waited to get the book at the bookstore at $21.95 plus tax and gas, or you preordered it online from Amazon, etc. for about 14 bucks (and likely didn't pay much if anything for shipping). However you decided to get PFP 2008, you didn't pre- or otherwise order it from FO.

Whatever truisms there may be about casual versus loyal customers, and while the casual customer may help the number of books sold by online and B&M booksellers and thus help indirectly help FO, FO is still at the mercy of the publisher and the retailers as to when the book gets in your hands. It seems this might be the rare case where the loyal customer is the key to the success of the business, as ultimately FO probably makes more money from the non-casual visitors here who buy Kubiak, Premium, etc., which are likely beyond the interests of the "casual" FO visitor from Fox message boards or elsewhere.

34 Re: DPAR is Dead

Relax Yetanotherpatsfanonapatsfanladenintrrnet, it's not nearly as serious as you make it out to be. I've been floating around this site since 2003 and I preorder every year. Ain't no thing.

35 Re: DPAR is Dead

If it makes anyone feel better, I haven't gotten my copy of the book yet.

36 Re: DPAR is Dead

Funny that Baseball Prospectus is mentioned in this article. While they provide stats like EQA and QERA (which are on the same scale as batting average and ERA, respectively), the stats they use for overall player comparisons are from the VORP/WARP category -- expressed in runs ("points") and wins ("tens of points").

This may be because, as noted above, scoring/winning is more intuitive/important than "stats that look like stats everyone already knows, except not."

37 Re: DPAR is Dead

...long live DPAR!

38 Re: DPAR is Dead

Count me as a longtime follower who prefers points to yards.

39 Re: DPAR is Dead

i feel the need to echo the sentiments of Crabbie and others. To me DPAR was simple to understand, where the value of a yard changes in context, the value of a point rarely does.

as others have pointed out BP has VORP and WARP. So why scrap DPAR? why not just print it next to the new stats?

40 Re: DPAR is Dead

Shouldn't it be Yards Adjusted for Replacement and Defense, a.k.a. YARD?

41 Re: DPAR is Dead

Book says Raiders have 0% chance to contend for Super Bowl and they have 4% chance to be playoff contender.
This going to be very embarasing when Raiders do make playoffs.
Book also says Russell going to throw 20 ints. No way does that happen. Jamarcus ussell is very accurate passer. More like 12 ints.

42 Re: DPAR is Dead

I'll second (third) the disappointment with the death of DPAR.

Frankly, I wish more of the advanced stats had migrated toward a "points" framework, instead of moving in the opposite direction. As someone pointed out, it's parallel to the BP use of "runs" in many of their metrics.

43 Re: DPAR is Dead

I like DYAR, it does a much better job of showing the differences between players. DPAR was too compressed.

44 Re: DPAR is Dead

Here's a quickie for the mailbag, although it's not YAR-related. You mention that Eli Manning had the second-worst completion percentage over a 5-game stretch since 1995 (among QBs with at least 15 attempts). So who's #1?

45 Re: DPAR is Dead

44: I'd bet it's Ryan Leaf, starting with that legendary awful game.

40.3% over five games.

46 Re: DPAR is Dead

That's actually a research error on my part that didn't get found until after the book. Manning's completion percentage for the five games was actually eighth-worst of all-time, not second.

Leaf was indeed first at 40.3%. Eli in 2004 is seventh.

47 Re: DPAR is Dead

Bill, any chance at the rest of that list?

Eli Manning. Worst 'good' quarterback ever, or best 'bad' quarterback ever? Discuss.

48 Re: DPAR is Dead

Is it April Fools Day again? Or did FOX get their sinister, dirty noses into FO business? I wouldn't blame anyone for selling out though, if the price is right.

It may be just a fear of anything new and unfamiliar, but I don't trust this DYAR. I liked and understood DPAR; it made intuitive sense to me even when I first encountered it. It took some time to get a feel for what the scale of what numbers meant, bit I knew immediately that it was measuring something important. This DYAR doesn't have the same appeal; like others have said, this stat doesn't really add anything new that traditional stats--interpreted through DVOA--didn't already.

Like it was said above, "scoring/winning is more intuitive/important than “stats that look like stats everyone already knows, except not.” Now I will spend all season wondering what Clinton Portis' DPAR would have been, and I feel like I've lost an important tool in assessing how much Jason Campbell is improving. Yards don't do it for me anymore!

I also second that YARD (Yards Adjusted for Replacement and Defense)is a better acronym.

49 Re: DPAR is Dead

"Unfortunately, DPAR isn’t exactly the easiest thing to understand either. The reason is obvious: Do you know anyone who refers to a player’s value by how many points he scored? I mean, we know touchdowns are six points, and we talk about kickers in terms of points when we talk about fantasy football, but people don’t think of football players in terms of points. They think in terms of yards."

The whole point is about the points and not the yards. Why do we need FO if we have to still go by people thinking ? Maybe, DPAR wasn't accurate enough. Couldn't you guys could do salvage point-based measurement while improving its accuracy ?

50 Re: DPAR is Dead

obviously points are more important to outcomes, but how many people intuitively know how many points an offense usually scores over a season. I don't and I consider myself a pretty hardcore football stat guy. Football fans know that 4,000 yards (or DYAR) is a solid QB season, what does 75 DPAR tell you without the context of the a DPAR ranked list? It's above replacement level. Is it mediocre or very good? I honestly don't know because I pulled 75 out of thin air. I'm going to check as soon as I post this because I really don't know.

51 Re: DPAR is Dead

I dont know what DPAR and DVOA and DYAR is, I just read the comments in the book.

52 Re: DPAR is Dead

Yeah, but nobody has 4000 DYAR either -- Brady's record-breaking year was apparently worth 2788, and only a handful of guys were over 1000... So DYAR isn't really on a familiar scale, either. Now, for a familiar scale you supposedly look at true yards, but like Aaron says, those are too dependent on attempts to be used to measure value.

You know, at least with DPAR I could subtract it from a team's point total or swap players and use the old pythagorean formula to run "what ifs" with different players; how do you do that with DYAR? The more I think about it, the more I see this as a move backwards, taking FO's signature individual stat and needlessly making it worse.

53 Re: DPAR is Dead

Re: 50

So the average fan knows how many yards is "good" for a QB, RB, or WR, and therefore "True Yards" is more intuitive than DVOA. Hmm, I'll have to think about that. It's hard for me to think about rating players based on yards because I've been conditioned not to. Seems like this is a concession to people who insist on counting yards in their assessments- "You want to count yards? OK, here are some more accurate yards."

I definitely liked that DPAR represented points. That enabled us to see concretely how much a given player added to the offense. I realize you can do that with yards, but yards don't win games, points do. With DPAR, we used to be able to say, "That RB was critical to his team's win. A replacement back wouldn't have generated enough points for them to win." Or, "That team could be winning every game if only they had a replacement-level QB, but their crappy starter is sucking the points away." Now, of course this wasn't perfectly accurate since the teams don't generate points precisely according to DVOA on a game-to-game basis, but it was useful.

How can we do that with yards? A RB generates a certain number of DYAR. Great, he got more yards than a replacement would have. But what does that mean for the outcome? Points impact the outcome, yards do not.

Bottom line, don't scrap DPAR yet. How about a trial run for Quick Reads using both stats, to see which one people like more?

54 Re: DPAR is Dead

I love how we have an ultra-researched post about mathematical equations and accuracy, and the first chunk of comments are all about pirates. Love it.

On a more serious note, does this mean that "dpar" has been moved from the list of security words to leave comments?

55 Re: DPAR is Dead

Re 53:

I actually think yards is much better way to represent how much a player helps his team. It goes back to the 99 yard drive capped with a 1 yard TD. People intuitively realize the TD wasn't as important as the yards in this situation.

Assigning how many points a play is worth was always kind of arbitrary because a great player can be a on a bad team, and generate a lot of yards, but not reach the end zone.

56 Re: DPAR is Dead

I'll reserve final judgment until I get the book, but based on this article I have to put myself in the pro-DPAR faction. Points simply makes more intuitive sense to me in determining a players value than yards. #19's comment about Carson Palmer being worth 10 TDs more than a replacement QB being easier to envision than 1200 yards better. It probably doesn't help that I'm used looking at teams point differential to determine its real value.

57 Re: DPAR is Dead

Sure thing, although I'm kinda swamped, so you just get the final week of the streak listed. Note that I don't include extended streaks, so although Ryan Leaf would technically be #1 and #2 since he has wks 1-5 as well as weeks 2-6 that qualify, I'm only including each player's worst non-overlapping five-game stretch:

- Ryan Leaf wk6 1998 40.3%
- Stoney Case wk5 1999 44.0%
- Aaron Brooks wk16 2002 44.1%
- Akili Smith wk6 2000 44.2%
- Kerry Collins wk15 1995 44.3%
- Eli Manning wk15 2004 44.4%
- Mike McMahon wk15 2005 44.4%
- Eli Manning wk16 2008 45.1%

58 Re: DPAR is Dead

Re 57:

The lack of Rex Grossman on that list surprises me.

59 Re: DPAR is Dead

Put me on the anti-DYAR list.

A bit of background first... I discovered FO in 2006 after I heard it mentioned while some friends were talking about BP. I checked it out, and absolutely loved it immediately. I was quickly hooked, and I check this place almost every single day, not to mention reading all of the PFPs, and the Year of the Scab.

I was born and raised in the heart of Alabama, and after being named after Paul "Bear" Bryant, it's fair to say that football is something of a religion with me. I've always loathed the talking head "experts" that fill the football landscape, and FO is one of those few places that you can truly get great insight and research from.

However, as many have mentioned earlier, I think the move to DYAR is a backwards step for FO. This place has gotten bigger by the day, and it has done so with DPAR and DVOA at the core. Changing DYAR just isn't a positive step, in my opinion. One of the cornerstones of this site has been that yards constitute a relatively meaningless number that was a poor indicator of value and efficiency. And now we're going to do a 180 by emphasizing yards... I just don't get it.

Beyond that, who was complaining about DPAR in the first place? I know I certainly wasn't, and I don't know of many people that were. I can say firsthand that it was / is much more intuitive to me than this whole DYAR stuff. And I know no one discusses player value in terms of points, they all talk about yards. That's exactly why I read FO! As mentioned earlier, it's a respite from the talking head "experts" and ignorant fans with no knowledge whatsoever of the game.

I'm still going to keep reading FO regardless, and I'll be glad to get my hands on the new book, but in my humble opinion this is a step backwards. Ditch DYAR and bring back DPAR.

60 Re: DPAR is Dead

quinn gray is now top 10 in DVOA?
I may have a foggy memory of jacksonville football last year but quinn gray was bad. He had two great games where he threw for 300 yards and had 6 td's to just 3 int's. However, every other game, against good secondaries, he struggled. Someone needs to help me understand how Gray's value per play was so good.

61 Re: DPAR is Dead

I have to vote in favor of True Yards. We all know from experience that 450 yards passing is a monster game, and that 250 is only decent. So if a QB passes for 450 yards in a game but only earns 250 True Yards, we know what's being said. In contrast, if a QB throws three TDs but has only a DPAR of 12.7, we understand that the actual performance was worse than the points scored, but for me there's a much less intuitive feel about the statistic. For me, 12.7 points only has meaning on the average, on a per-game basis averaged over several games, whereas saying "yards" appeals to my intuition directly; I don't have to go through an "average" filter.

62 Re: DPAR is Dead

How does anyone know if any of the stats make sense? Do they double count things? What aspects of performance are used, and how are they weighted? Etc?

I don't know how long you've been here, but if you're new, maybe you missed this, where you can scroll down to "Does DVOA really work?" Or, maybe your questions would be better answered by going here, which goes into some detail about how the stats made.

as others have pointed out BP has VORP and WARP. So why scrap DPAR? why not just print it next to the new stats?

I agree, why can't we keep DPAR and bring in DYAR? What, is DPAR going to get jealous? Did DYAR make you put a clause in its contract so that it would be the only advanced statistic measuring value above a replacement player, or its entire contract would be guaranteed? D*mn poison pills clauses.

Seriously, though, having DPAR is nice, not just because it's intuitive/more directly tied to winning, but as mentioned before, you can use it in conjunction with Pythagorean wins to make rough estimates of the change in winning percentage of switching certain players. That's a lot of fun, and you can't do that with DYAR (or at least, it's not as easy). So why can't we at least see the DPAR alongside the DYAR? Why take away a good measurement?

Still, I'll say this for DYAR, it does give us the pretext for talking like pirates and making ridiculous jokes about this fact, so it can't be all bad.

It may be just a fear of anything new and unfamiliar, but I don’t trust this DYAR.

Oh, don't worry, that's just perfectly normal paranoia.

I also second that YARD (Yards Adjusted for Replacement and Defense)is a better acronym.

Does YARD give us a ready-made excuse to talk like pirates? Didn't think so.

63 Re: DPAR is Dead

Hm. I don't comment much here, but I've been reading FO for so many years now that I can't even remember when I first found this site.

My first reaction to reading the "DPAR Is Dead" title was one of excitement: FO has invented something even better! My second reaction to DYAR, after reading about it, is that I don't like it. I've become very comfortable with DPAR, so there may be some status quo bias in my reaction. The rationale for moving to DYAR (making it more intuitive) is getting it exactly wrong: DPAR works as an better stat because it is not tied to old notions of yards, and you can evaluate it without the mental baggage that yards bring. This is an advantage.

Not only that, I also ended up confused by the nomenclature of DYAR: "True Yards" is a horrible name because they're not true yards. The true yards are the traditional stats you see plastered on TV. At least, that is how my DPAR/DVOA-centric mind works now.

I am not opposed to introducing DYAR and DAFY (Defense-Adjusted Fake Yards?) in addition to DPAR, but getting rid of DPAR strikes me as very wrong.

64 Re: DPAR is Dead

Points are also relative. When you are down by 5 with one minute let, you'll be given 3 for free. Similarly, when you are down by 2 with almost no time left you'll take the 3 even if you were 51% as likely to 6 had you gone for that. So the "relative"-ness of yards is a problem that also applies to points.

If you wanted a real comparison you might have to have some notion of an individual contribution to wins and then you could say, "If you replaced Carson Palmer with an average replacement qb, the bengals would have won x fewer games". That also means a team with an average replacement qb, (the Bears if we are being charitable) know how many wins it would be worth to them to trade for Carson Palmer. They would also know if it was worth trading another player at another position for Carson, because wins are wins. Wins are also relative, though. The difference between 1 and 2 wins is a lot less important than the difference between 8 and 9 wins, for example.

The only real measure would be something like Defense adjusted Super Bowl Wins above replacement. Because so few teams win the super bowl each year, though, the confidence intervals would be huge (that means you can't trust the stat at all) and the percentages would be infinitesimal (how much more likely does Anthony Gonzalez make a team to win the SB? )

But DYAR has virtues that DWAR and DPAR don't. Yards happen all the time, and its a lot easier to assign them to individuals, because they happen on every play. If you were Willie Parker at a time when Jerome Bettis was the RB on all redzone plays, you could conceivably be a starter who was never on the field for points, and that would skew the stats. Yards provide a better measure. I don't think they are perfect, but if you want to compare Joe Jurivicious to Eric Parker, its a much better because the confidence on the stat is much higher.

Count me as willing to give it a season to see how it goes, and appreciating that you guys are still thinking about this stuff.

Also, here's a suggestion for looking at Replacement Level. By revealed preference, all teams prefer their staff at their salaries to the best unsigned free-agent at a position. It would be interesting to look at the DYARs of unsigned free agents against those of players with jobs and figure out how much a team is wiling to pay for DPAR, or conversely, how much a FA has to lower his expectations before he gets picked up to replace some cheap guy who is worse than he is (Kevin Jones is better than a lot of back ups in this league, even with his age, how much can he ask for and still get a job?)

65 Re: DPAR is Dead

I fall into the group liking the DYAR stat. I think a lot of confusion is coming from FO initially indicating that you can't necessarily judge a player by the yards they earn, because of team and opponent factors. For example, Tom Brady could pass for 400 yds and 6 TDs against the Raiders and Peyton Manning could pass for 200 yds and 1 TD against the Jaguars. Everybody would say that TB had a better game, but look at his competition. (Intentional barb for RaiderJoe.) I think what FO is trying to do is use a stat that appeals to the average joe (another barb), uses the basis of DPAR and tries to amalgamate the two into a usable statistic as a foundation for further research.

I like the stat and look forward to this year with D`YAR (best pirate impression) and it's accompanying analysis.

66 Re: DPAR is Dead

re 57 - the list of 8 worst QB 5-game stretches in terms of completion percentage (during a new moon while geese are migrating). Is it just random that 5 out of 8 on the list end on week 15 or 16 - is this a case of QBs (or teams generally) being shell-shocked by the end of a crappy season / giving up on a crappy season, or just one of those random things.

Re DYAR vs DPAR - DYAR I can live with. I was fine with DPAR. I tended to think in terms of DPAR as being essentially DVOA multiplied by no. of plays anyway, on a rather arbitrary scale rather than in real 'point' terms. So DYAR is basically just DPAR mutliplied by an arbitrary constant - simply changing the scale.

True Yards seems conceptually confused to me though. You measure how many extra yards a player has gained vs what a replacement level player would do in that position. Okay. Replacement level player would gain RLP yards. Real player gains RLP + DYAR yards (well, RLP + YAR strictly). Then you produce a stat of his actual yards plus DYAR, which is RLP + 2 DYAR. Which seems pretty meaningless. If a player is X above replacement level, then why do we want to know what X above his actual level is - 2X above replacement level?

True yards is the answer to the question "How many yards would player X throw for in a game in which a replacement level player threw would as many yards as player X did in a given game?" Or to put it more simply... Huh?

What would make more intuitive sense is "how many yards would player X have thrown for against an average (or replacement level) defence rather than the one he did play against?". Or "What would a replacement level players stats have been in this game? (Real world yards MINUS YAR or DYAR, not plus).

Please, please either explain what I have misunderstood or go back to the true yards concept and think about what it is meant to represent again.

67 Re: DPAR is Dead

Re: 64
If you were Willie Parker at a time when Jerome Bettis was the RB on all redzone plays, you could conceivably be a starter who was never on the field for points, and that would skew the stats. "

That misses the point of dpar completely. In a scenario like this Parker gets 95% of the dpar, because that is exacly what FO metrics are about. You are right, that traditional yards are better than traditional points, but that why Fo introduced a nmetric which spread the points of a team over all offensive skill players.

In generell I believe Aaron is trying to solve a problem that is not solvable.
Last year the fox reader wrote "What are your stupid dpar anyway, can't you see that Kitna passed for trillions of yards he is a hero"
So this year they will write, "What are you stupid true yards anyway, the true yards are the one on his box score. Alex Smith will always be our hero."

Also I must say, the more I think about it, the less I understand what these "yards" mean.
Bradys true yards come down at 6428. For this number to mean anything, there should be a sentence like "If Brady played sixteen times against an average defense then he would have thrown 6500 Yards."
Firstly I do not believe such a sentence to be "true" for any if, but I guess I just can't fathom how superhuman the pats where last year.
But secondly the way FO stats works, the real sentence is probably like: "If Brady plays 16 games against average defense and plays all snaps from either 1 and 10 from his own 47 yard line or 2nd and 7 from the oppenets 35 yard line (or whatever an average difficulty situations for a QB are), the he would have thrown for 6500 yards. If you consider that the real sentence is probably even more complicated, I do not see where this creates a stat that is more accessible than DPAR.

68 Re: DPAR is Dead

I do like the DYAR addition, but I'd much rather be able to work with DPAR if we can only have one.

69 Re: DPAR is Dead

Another vote for offering both DYAR and DPAR stats, at least on the FO stats pages. I've just about gotten used to DPAR!

Not many commenters have mentioned it, but there are some excellent-sounding changes in your upgrade: red zone and replacement level, in particular, make a lot of sense.

Now that you are working from five years of data (2003-07), I wonder: has the value of Average in DVOA changed at all? If, to take an extreme scenario, passing success on first down increased by, say, 15 per cent in 2008, would DVOA adapt to that? Or does Average mean 'average for the era'?

70 Re: DPAR is Dead

re myself in 66 - obviously I am reading impaired this morning :(. What I wrote about True Yards was complete rubbish - it's not player's actual yards plus DYAR, it's 'replacement level yards' plus DYAR - something a bit like how many yards they would have passed for against that defence if each play was 1st and 20 from their own 20, or some such metric.

71 Re: DPAR is Dead

Well, one nice thing about the new stat is that you not only can make Pirate Sounds (always good) but Philadelphia Story reference too.

KH: "My, that 2005 Peyton was yar!"
CG: "ITruly he was, Red. Yar, indeed."

But that still doesn't solve a baseline problem I have with football analysis. Unlike baseball stats, hardly any football stats really resonate. Baseball Prospectus has a couple of revolutionary stats, but one of them, Eqa, looks like something you grew up with, batting average. It takes offensive performance in totality and renders into a batting average like number.

What's the football equivalent of batting average, or era? It's hard to say, since the roles of players, and their relative success in those roles, is so different.

It's possible to get to important and revealing stats, and I believe FO has made great progress with this. DYAR (yes, why not YARD, or YARDA?) I think is an attempt to get to a more familiar context than points. I just don't think either is so familiar that it really matters much which you pick for translation.

Personally, I'd rather see wins (warp), or fractions thereof (which, hey, probably would look like batting averages!). To say a QB is worth 5000 D'YARS! versus an average of 3000 D'YARS! isn't terribly meaningful to me on first glance. Whereas if you said "This QB is worth 3 wins above replacement, given a average team around him, and an average opponent." I'd think, hey, that's huge! That guy is great.

72 Re: DPAR is Dead

19....I agree. Points win games, not yards.

And personally, as a Steelers fan, I find any system that ranks Sage Rosenfels ahead of Ben Roethlisberger (new DVOA) sort of ridiculous. Maybe I just read it wrong.

73 Re: DPAR is Dead

Bug Report:
The new table for Quarterback Rushing is sorted by true yards instead of DYAR like every other table.

74 Re: DPAR is Dead

I'll put in another vote for DPAR. Yards, as most people here agree, are a poor measure of success. We've often ridiculed the NFL for designating the best offenses and defenses by yards instead of points and it seems like DYAR is a step in that direction.

I'm sure I'll get used to the new formula, but I'm not sure that I'm going to like it.

75 Re: DPAR is Dead

Hey, that 1995 NFC Central was positively stacked at the QB position! Mitchell, Kramer, Dilfer...

76 Re: DPAR is Dead

But isn't DYAR a measure of individual success, not team success? So wouldn't yards be a more accurate measure of an individual player's contributions than points scored? I'm just thinking of a running back or wide receiver who routinely moves the chains for a team, but once his team gets in the red zone the fullbacks and tight ends get a disproportionate number of TDs (ie Warrick Dunn & Mike Alstott).

So a red zone fullback would have his DPAR skewed in one direction, and his DYAR skewed in the other?

77 Re: DPAR is Dead

Re #54
I'm waiting for my copy of PFP to give a fuller analysis. In the meantime, I concur generally with qsi in #63 and with #19 in wondering what non-FO partisans will think of DYAR. I'll see what results experiments on my co-workers, who generally have not cottoned on well to DPAR, render.

And to answer your second question, judging by my current security word, no.

78 Re: DPAR is Dead

I kinda like the idea of DYAR on an individual game basis (i.e. Quick Reads). In evaluating/measuring individual game performance it does seem more intuitive than DPAR. As a cumulative measurement I think I still conceptually prefer DPAR though there's probably not a big difference (in the table above no QBs ranking changed more than two spots).

79 Re: DPAR is Dead

I think that quote cuts to the quick of the matter at hand better than anything that's been said. The inherent problem isn't really replacing points for yards in a qualitative metaphor; rather, it's the nature of a qualitative metaphor itself. The point of metaphors like this is to translate a long set of performance metrics into one number that states whether something (in this case, a football player) is good or bad in a way that a layperson could relate to his own experience. (e.g., "Well, 100 horses can pull more than 75, so this engine is stronger than that one.") The key word, here, is "layperson", which will come into play more and more as Football Outsiders gets more popular and becomes more revenue-driven. Now, that's not to say that the FO guys should boil their stats down to "on a scale of 'teh suck' to 'ZOMG!', Vince Young is 'meh' with a slight chance of becoming 'feh' in the future", but I appreciate that they have received some criticism of casual users of their stats (like the readers of Quick Reads), and have at least made an attempt to meet them halfway.

80 Re: DPAR is Dead

Whoops, #79 was supposed to open with:

Translating player performance into yardage rather than points allows us to introduce one more statistic, which we hope will make Quick Reads much more accessible to the general population of football fans.

Sorry 'bout that.

81 Re: DPAR is Dead

I hope DPAR is dead like Favre is retired.

82 Re: DPAR is Dead

Re: 76

If I understand correctly, DPAR and DYAR are based on the same performance factors. A red zone fullback would not have a good DPAR and a bad DYAR, they would both be either good or bad because they are saying the same thing, just expressing it in different terms. DPAR was never based on distributing the actual points scored, it was always based on drive success points (on a per-play basis), and DYAR is based on that, too.

DYAR is not qualitatively different from DPAR. The debate is whether we want value above replacement to be scored on a points scale (DPAR) or a yards scale (DYAR). I personally like points, and I don't see how yards are more meaningful to anyone. In fact, It seems confusing to me that a player could earn more "True Yards" than he actually got. What does that mean, really, in terms of value to his team? We all know Brady got a lot of yards. But is his value determined purely by getting yards? Only in the sense that yards lead to points. So why not skip that step and go straight to points?

(However, I do like that "True Yards" and DYAR will be able to put to rest the myth that throwing 4,000 yards is a good thing. We'll be able to look at a 4,000 yard guy and say his true yardage was far less than that, while a guy who had 3,800 normal yards actually has a higher number of "True Yards." So the new stats are useful for comparison of players at the same position to each other, but not as useful as DPAR for measuring a player's contribution to his team's wins.)

Again, I end with a plea to keep DPAR around for comparison, to see if people like it more.

83 Re: DPAR is Dead

P.S. I realize that the charts make it seem like DPAR and DYAR are different, but that's because the DPAR numbers are from before the baseline changes and the DYAR numbers are from after those changes. If you recalculated DPAR with the new baseline numbers, it would rank the players in the same order and with the same proportions as DYAR.

84 Re: DPAR is Dead

Are kickers going to be ranked using DYAR instead of DPAR? That seems... stupid.

85 Re: DPAR is Dead

I think the improvements to the formula, especially the new replacement levels, reflect excellent work. Good job, guys!

However, when I saw the headline "DPAR is Dead", I hoped FO was moving to a wins-based metric. After all, the point of yards is to score, and the point of scoring is to win. It seems like this stat is moving backwards. It's not a bad thing on its own-more stats are better, as long as they are clearly labeled, explained, and understood. However, if forced to choose between DYAR and DWAR, I'd prefer to have an individual metric that corresponds more directly with the whole point of the freakin' game (corresponds in my mind, I realize the actual difference would be negligible).

86 Re: DPAR is Dead

82 and 83 are correct.

87 Re: DPAR is Dead

I love DYAR!!!

Kickers + yards: those are yards that you don't have to get to get into good % field goal range, since your kicker 'already' got them.

88 Re: DPAR is Dead

Re: 82 (myself)

I made a mistake in saying that "True Yards" are good for comparing players at the same position. They are not. "True Yards" are only useful in determining whether a player was better, even with, or worse than his actual yardage number (which is of dubious utility, IMHO).

89 Re: DPAR is Dead

Re #88
I generally share your skepticism w/r/t the probable value of True Yards, but one thing I noticed and sent Aaron an email about is, looking at RB True Yards, RBs like Fred Taylor and Purple Jesus have significantly lower True Yards, while Joseph Addai has more True Yards. Coincidentally or not, MIN and JAX rank 1st and 2nd in 10+ yards and IND ranks toward the bottom. The OL rankings discount 10+ yards, which makes strong intuitive sense. But, from those examples, it seems like True Yards do, too, and I'm not sure THAT makes sense. It's particularly confusing w/r/t somebody like Purple Jesus-both DYAR and DVOA say he's very good, and then there's True Yards saying "whoa, wait a minute, he's not nearly as good as he looks."

90 Re: DPAR is Dead

re 57 - the list of 8 worst QB 5-game stretches in terms of completion percentage (during a new moon while geese are migrating). Is it just random that 5 out of 8 on the list end on week 15 or 16 - is this a case of QBs (or teams generally) being shell-shocked by the end of a crappy season / giving up on a crappy season, or just one of those random things.

I suspect it has something to do with lousy weather.

91 Re: DPAR is Dead

#87: I'm not sure that would be correct; I don't think 1998 Gary Anderson (regular season version) could have kicked a 60 yard FG even though he undoubtedly would have had a really high DYARrrrr.

92 Re: DPAR is Dead

This was my first thought: "with DPAR I could subtract it from a team’s point total or swap players and use the old pythagorean formula to run “what ifs” with different players; how do you do that with DYAR?"

And this was my second: "How does anyone know if any of the stats make sense? Do they double count things? What aspects of performance are used, and how are they weighted? Etc?"

And this was my third: Who wants to create an open-source version of FO? We could create customizable stats and unlift the veil of the black box. Imagine understanding why the 2007 projections had Dallas with 6.4 wins and Philly with 11? More accurate and sensible FF projections. Who's with me?

This comment will be purged in 3-2-1...

93 Re: DPAR is Dead

As a loyal outsider promoter since nearly day 1, I've got to throw my hat into the pro-DPAR camp. I see this as epic failure and huge step backwards. I've always been able to say to non-believers that yards don't win, points do. So listen to these guys (FO) who are talking about how many points a player is worth... Now what do I do? Yards don't win, so look at these yards! They're different numbers! I've not been this disappointed with FO ever before.

What type of bike did you use to jump the shark? Scooter? Chopper? Vespa? Schwinn?

Fail.

94 Re: DPAR is Dead

If the point of the revamped statistics is to make complex statistical data more easily understandable for a lay person (ie the statistically ignorant) then I think DYAR may fail (for all its piratey goodness).

You should have gone for something everyone can relate to and measured production in PEPSIs or DONUTs. Anyway I am sure you can think of something.

I may be missing something obvious here but where you went for 'Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement' or DYAR, couldn't you have used 'Yards Above Replacement adjusted for Defense' which would have been YARDs. Not quite as piratey, but if you try you can still make it quite menacing.

95 Re: DPAR is Dead

I'm not liking the new stats, but maybe it's because I'm missing something. True Yards is really throwing me.

So Tony Romo threw for 302 yards on 44 passes against the Lions, a craptacular passing defense. Given the context of his pass attempts, we'd expect a replacement level QB to throw for 195 yards in such a situation; as such, Romo was 107 yards above replacement. But when we add back in what the replacement level QB would do, we say Romo contributed the equivalent of his 107 yards above replacement plus 297 yards, which came from something to do with equivalent pass attempts, so his true value was 404 yards. I don't get it. How can 300 actual yards against a crappy pass defense really mean you were as valuable as if you threw for 400 yards against an average pass defense? The latter is a much more impressive performance.

To cite phill in #66, what are we proving here? What is the end to this sentence?: "By passing for 302 yards against the Lions, Tony Romo was as valuable, by our calcuations, as if he had thrown for 404 yards . . ."

96 Re: DPAR is Dead

Re: 95

There's something wrong with your numbers. Clearly, if Romo passed for 302 yards against a bad defense, then his "True Yards" would be lower than 302 because of opponent adjustments. You must have calculated wrong.

97 Re: DPAR is Dead

Sigh. Unfortunately, it looks like Tom Gower is correct about "True Yards." I'm not sure why I didn't notice this before, but it is not working right. Actually, that's not true -- it is working right, but it isn't saying what I thought it was saying, because the standard deviation is smaller than the standard deviation for regular yards. I'll be looking into this and trying to improve it over the next couple days.

As for DYAR, I'll address this further when I do a "DYAR Mailbag" but it is the exact same stat as DPAR, just on a different scale. Basically, we've gone from Fahrenheit to Celsius. Freezing is still freezing.

To give an example, here's the top 10 QB from last year in terms of DPAR, but with the new baselines and formulas. It is the same as the ranking in DYAR.

12-T.Brady 188.3
18-P.Manning 125.3
4-B.Favre 98.5
9-T.Romo 88.9
9-D.Brees 89.3
9-C.Palmer 84.0
9-D.Garrard 74.0
6-J.Cutler 67.3
8-M.Hasselbeck 65.6
3-D.Anderson 55.9

98 Re: DPAR is Dead

Dyar seems more like a fantasy football concept where you are seeking intrinsic value in terms of yards/stats. Dpar seemed like a better stat for true WIN the game value.

The problem I have with Dyar is that not all yards are created equal. It is so much easier to rack up passing yards on artificial turf in a dome, than it is to pick up yards in frozen temps and swirling winds of Giants stadium or Buffalo NY in December just like it is easier to hit a Home Run in Colorodo as opposed to a pitchers ballpark. I hate to bring up baseball, but even in the same stadium, a lefty can have a huge advantage over a righty in Yankee Stadium.

If anything, the very familiar Colts are an example of why Dyar might not be as good as Dpar. I believe it was Gunter Cunningham's/Herm Edwards Chiefs/Colts playoff game in 06' game in Indy. There were reports that the Chiefs were going to play ultra conservative until the Colts got into the field goal range and then start to play "real" defense and hope to limit them to just 3 points on lots of execution instead of the possible quick 7 point score. This strategy would give up yards, but it would make them " earn them" and slow down the game and keep it close etc. They knew the probability of a mistake ( fumble/tipped ball) was about as likely as a punt so they just tried to limit the big play down the field and hope for false starts, tipped balls etc.

99 Re: DPAR is Dead

95. To my understanding, true yards is what a replacement level player would have done PLUS the added production of the player. So actually a Replacement level player would have thrown for 297 yards. (404-107=297).

Which makes sense-- that's 6.75 yards per pass attempt against a crappy Detoit Pass Defense- much more than the 4.4 yards/pass number you get using your numbers. That's why DYAR is the better comparison stat b/w QBs than TYAR.

Or so I think.

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97- If it is a question of easier divisibility, you can convert POINTS to the tenth, hundreds, or Thousands column. DPAR can read Carson Palmer was worth 26.789 points more than a replacement level quarterback.

101 Re: DPAR is Dead

97. Brees has a slightly higher number but is ranked lower.

102 Re: DPAR is Dead

Any chance of conversions between yards, points, and wins? These seem like very, very simple regressions which would let readers use a simple multiplication to convert between DYAR, DPAR, and a theoretical DWAR.

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102- I don't see an even exchange between Yards, Points, and wins. They would be correlated but it isn't like 100 yards is worth 6 points in a 1 for 1 trade etc.

If my team scored 42 points in a given game, you would predict that we would beat the unknown team B. Now if I told you we played in St. Louis and that team B scored 45 points then it wouldn't matter that we scored 42 points as far as wins go.

If I told you the Giants were going to Score 23 points on the Pats in the super bowl...

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95. I'll take a shot at this, anyone feel free to correct me:

I'm thinking, and correct me if I'm wrong, that since DYAR like DPAR comes from "success points", there is more importance given to a 2 yard pass on 4th-and-2 than a 9 yard pass on 3rd-and-10-- perhaps even if the 9 yards came against a crappy defense. Therefore, the QB that has gotten 9 yards against a staunch defense is probably getting less true yards than the QB who got 2 yards on a crappy defense.

So even though Romo threw for 302 yards against the lions- his value to the team was more in line with a QB who threw for 404 yards against the lions.

105 Re: DPAR is Dead

104. Slight correction- since it's defense adjusted, that would be 404 yards against ANY team, not the Lions. I think.

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@74: "Yards, as most people here agree, are a poor measure of success. We’ve often ridiculed the NFL for designating the best offenses and defenses by yards instead of points and it seems like DYAR is a step in that direction."

what? i think most people here agree the opposite: total yards are a better measure of offense than points. points happen thanks to field position, and often happen without the offense seeing the ball at all. the 2006 bears were no where near the 2nd-best offense in the league. neither yards nor points are actually good though, which is the point of FO.

People talk about VORP for baseball, but baseball fans are used to crappy numbers like runs and RBIs. VORP is really just an advancement on those numbers.

there is no traditional football player stat that DPAR compared to.

My question(s) about DYAR:

with DPAR (or VORP), you could take a replacement offense (maybe 150 points? '06 raiders?), then add up all the DPAR from individual players and it would give you a 'predicted points scored'.

with DYAR, can I take a replacement team yardage (4000-yard season maybe?) and add all the individual DYAR totals and get a predicted yardage? will their be a table for how many points a team with a given teamwide True Yardage would be predicted to score?

Are we now doublecounting? In the olden days, the DPAR for a completed pass were divided between the QB and receiver, right? Now, it's fairly clear there is overlap for True Yards, Brady had more True Yards alone in 2007 than his team had in real yards.

But are we dividing DYAR between QB and WR? On the one hand, this would tend to make QB/WR #s lower than you would expect (because traditional numbers double count for passing yards),

but if you don't, then an RB DYARd is worth as much as 2 QB/WR DYARds, which would be awful.

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We’ve also put the 2008 game charting data in the store; you can purchase that for $60.

If we could get the 2008 game charting data now, it would be worth a lot more than $60.

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I think what's throwing people is that they think just because the new stat includes the term yards that suddenly FO is putting more value on yards.
That's simply not true, any moreso than they placed emphasis on points scored when using DPAR. There has been no sudden paradigm shift from points to yards. DYAR and DPAR are both derived from DVOA, which has been updated for greater predictive value.

109 Re: DPAR is Dead

I'll reserve judgement for a while, but my gut says "points is right." Crabbie and others make a bunch of sense to me.

Shifting into 2nd gear, one of my favorite features on FO is the drive success rate table, and a fair amount of that is yards-based, no? That's more of an "event-based" metric, including points, yards, fumbles, TOs, etc.

As a consumer and a businessman, I wonder how this is related to the USNWR annual college/grad school rankings: they change every year to keep it fresh. Nobody (except my wife) wants to see Wharton as #1 every year. Will an updated DPAR return in 5 years and then a refined DYAR(rrrr) after that?

I appreciate that the FOers have continuously refined their system--sometimes even mid-season if it seemed necesasary. In the past it has steadily improved, so I will assume this is an improvement I don't quite "get" yet. And if it's generally an "expand the business" move, I can understand that as well. I may not love it, but I'm not going anywhere else.

(confession: I kind of like the Aikman Ratings--sort of a halfway step between FO stats and traditional NFL stats--talk about abstract, like a QB rating, there's no tangible measureable they correlate to, but since they are just one O and One D number, you can take in a broad league-wide snapshot in one glance. They-re crude--the QB/RB/OL performance is not broken out--it's all based on 11 guys at a time.)

110 Re: DPAR is Dead

107 SWEET! You're right. I'll charitably bid $100 for that data.

111 Re: DPAR is Dead

109. I don't think there's been any monumental shifts in how they calculate their ratings though. It's mostly a result of having more data to analyze as the seasons pass. As opposed to the school ratings you describe, which continually analyze the same data (well, in a manner of speaking... obviously schools do change from year to year) but arrive at a different conclusion.

112 Re: DPAR is Dead

99:Right, Temo, but there's my question ... if a replacement level QB would have thrown for 297 yards, and Tony Romo threw for 302, how in hell does he have a 107 DYAR? And if a replacement level QB would have thrown for 297 yards, and Tony Romo threw for only 5 more yards than that, how does he have the 6th best quarterback performance of the week?

And if there are two different levels of replacement value, how does FO know they're using the right one for DYAR and the right one for Total Yards? Couldn't they be the same? Couldn't they be reversed?

113 Re: DPAR is Dead

Here's a trick question. How are Rex Grossman's actual yards and True Yards identical (1221) when he also posts negative DYAR (-121)?

114 Re: DPAR is Dead

112. Well, that means that his DVOA for the game was fairly high. Just like Jon Kitna had more Actual Yards than True Yards because he had a negative DVOA... so does Romo have more True Yards than Actual Yards because his DVOA was positive.

Looking at the boxscore (linked) it looks like Romo passed for 20(!) first downs on the day, meaning that almost half of his attempts resulted in first downs for the Cowboys.

115 Re: DPAR is Dead

Maybe this Dyar, Dpar, True yards, fake yards, actual yards stuff is all just a scam to get the general public to quit this site, so that the TRUE, die hard football fans can build it back from the ashes and "keep it real".

In the NWFOO ( New World Football Outsiders Order) only 5 star commenters exist and all fans are Patriots fans.

116 Re: DPAR is Dead

#109, Bobman

Do they still publish the Aikman ratings? I haven't seen them in a while, but I haven't been looking all that hard.

I think it is probably true that any purely statistical analysis of football is likely to be more accurate when looking at units as a whole (ie offense/ defense/ special teams). Any play that happens in a game will have an impact on any others that follow, and any player on the field on a given play will have a unique impact on said play. FO does a great job in providing great new information, and its efforts to incorporate analytical game data are highly commendable.

There are always going to be some people who will never be happy with any rankings short of their own created by watching NFL films game film of every game played and creating their own scouting system. You could also substitute your own scouting getting hold of the pro-scouting reports of a trusted NFL front office (best of luck to anybody who tries this option - but if you do manage it, can I get a pdf?).

117 Re: DPAR is Dead

I think math geeks (and I mean that affectionately, I love this site) sometimes forget how much words matter. To judge by how much confusion still exists despite attempts to explain that's it's just the scale changing (great fahrenheit to celsius example, for all the good it seemed to do), I suggest avoiding the words 'yard' or 'points' in any overall rating. Heck, apparently a lot of people still think the FB poaching a 1 yard TD after someone else did all the work to get that close to the end zone means the FB gets more DPAR (which is either not true, or I've misunderstood everything here for years).

My suggestion: call the final ranking number Win Shares or Percentage Above or Below Replacement (PABR) or something. If the goal is to make it more accessible and less confusing, then avoid real world football related terms like yards or points as those have specific meanings in most fans minds that they find difficult to ignore when looking at your ranking, which obviously leads to mass confusion even among your core fans who follow this site in the offseason.

118 Re: DPAR is Dead

Chris(103):

All of these stats are based on averages and expectations. For example, the commonly used Pythagorean formulae take points scored and points allowed and calculate an expected number of wins, with constants adjusted per-sport. That doesn't mean the team WILL win that many games, it just means that's the number they're MOST LIKELY to win.

There's no reason a yardpointwin conversion shouldn't be possible.

119 Re: DPAR is Dead

re:107

I'm not impressed.

120 Re: DPAR is Dead

if that's not a headline that threatens to rip your stomach out, I don't know what is. Can't wait to see the Pirate stat in action.

121 Re: DPAR is Dead

DPAR, DYAR, True Yards ... I don't care. I have gotten word from Amazon that the book is on the way and the first KUBIAK predictions are out. However quiet the off season is for ye guys just imagine what it's like here in Ireland. Football season is finally here :-)

122 Re: DPAR is Dead

Oh, just because DPAR/DYAR has dominated the discussion...

1. Thank you for more sophisticated opponent adjustments.
2. Thank you for finding the new replacement values.
3. Thank you in advance for the forthcoming series on the best single seasons in FO history, including putting the pre-2000 data on the site.

All of these are genuinely Good Things, and we're thankful for your hard work in doing them, even if we don't necessarily act like it.

With that, we now return to Scale Fight 2008: Points Versus Yards!

123 Re: DPAR is Dead

I think the one thing we can all agree on is that the next time Aaron decides to rename a major stat, he needs to run a focus group first.

(And DPAR is still coming up as a security word.)

124 Re: DPAR is Dead

Aaron,

My apologies. After re-reading the article (plus your post), DYAR is just fine with me.

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Of course, small changes in our stats should not be treated as gospel truth.

I don't think that's gonna be a problem.

126 Re: DPAR is Dead

The switch from DPAR to DYAR is not a big deal - based on Aaron's lists it looks like the conversion is pretty close to DYAR=14.5xDPAR. So, for those (like #102), who wanted a conversion calculator: just divide yards by 14.5 to get points. My initial reaction the DPAR/DYAR controversy is that I liked the old way and there was no need to change it, but it's not a big deal and I might come to prefer the new scale once I get used to it.

What I don't understand is why FO plans to give "True Yards" so much prominence. I may revise my views once I see it in action, but right now it just doesn't seem like a number that's very meaningful, interesting, or useful to look at. Why should I care what a player's True Yards were? Comparing True Yards to actual yards in order to see whether someone is better or worse than their traditional stats is complicated and it only gives a very rough sense of how good someone has played. Unfortunately, the name "True Yards" makes it sound like this is a really important stat (especially to people who aren't familiar with the acronym stats), which could confuse people and make it harder to get people to buy into DVOA & D[P/Y]AR.

Perhaps True Yards per attempt would be a more meaningful stat? That would basically be yards per attempt, with bonuses or penalties based on opponent adjustments, types of usage, and how good a player has done at getting progress towards first downs, getting touchdowns, and avoiding turnovers. Basically, it's DVOA translated to a more intuitive scale for each position. And the folks at Pro Football Reference have already found this sort of yards per attempt based scale pretty convenient to work with - they love to use adjusted yards per attempt. True Yards per attempt would sort of be like a souped up version of that, which uses play-by-play data instead of just box score data.

127 Re: DPAR is Dead

Aaron would you mind posting the conversion from DYAR to DPAR? When I took a quick look at the numbers you posted in #97 I thought it was about 14.5 x DPAR = DYAR but I ran the numbers and that's not quite right.

128 Re: DPAR is Dead

To expand on my previous point the multiplier increases as DYAR increases. I'm sure if my math chops were a little sharper I could calculate it myself (at least for QBs) but its summer and I haven't taken a math class in about 5 semesters.

129 Re: DPAR is Dead

"This comment will be purged in 3-2-1…"

I have two things to say.

1) gerry is not Gerry. Maybe I need to go back to Dales...
2) FOMB don't play that way. Now, if you had said that Brady is obviously better than Manning, then just maybe you would have something to worry about.

130 Re: DPAR is Dead

118- A Yard to Point scale would be much more possible ( Only flawed by an Alstott/Dunn, Bettis/Parker combo).

Are you talking about a PF/PA in a game and predicting the outcome, or a PF/PA in a season and predicting season win totals?

Since pretty much the entire conversation was player specific, I would assume you were talking about individual players. I don't think you can say that say 75 rushing yards = 1 TD = .333 wins etc or the comp for Quarterbacks.

A lot of individual stats are dependant on the venue as a huge variable which doesn't effect either say the QB or the defense. Playing in a snowy windy game in Buffalo with 5 degree temps will hurt both QB's stats and help both Secondaries.

131 Re: DPAR is Dead

92: I'd love to see more of the inner workings of FO calculations revealed. (After all, I did reverse-engineer the Lewin projection system so I could use it on the 2007 draft class before the book came out. Maybe this is a sign that I need to get out more.)

Unfortunately, I don't think it's really in their business interests.

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Re 127, 128:

It does look linear (r^2=0.9998) but you're right in that the multiplier isn't constant.

133 Re: DPAR is Dead

I think most of the opposition is sentimental, and I know it isn't logical.
DPAR NEVER CALCULATED POINTS. It takes basic yardage plays and estimates how many points that was worth. So we aren't going from points to yards. But from yards to True Yards. And some yards are obviously more valuable than others. 3rd and 1 getting 1 yard is a valuable yard. 4th and inches that's a very valuable inch! That's the whole concept that FO and it's stats are built around. I am very surprised by the reaction I am seeing. It will go away soon.

134 Re: DPAR is Dead

130. I would certainly like to "reverse-engineer" (if you want to put it that way) some of FO's work. If only because I too should probably get out more.

135 Re: DPAR is Dead

96: Maybe what happened is that he made very valuable plays during the game, such as converting long 3rd downs, didn't turn the ball over, threw td's and such. So although those plays would be even MORE valuable against a good pass D, he could still have produced more than you would guess just by looking at his raw yardage totals.

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Re #127
Keep in mind that the changeover also included some calculation adjustments, such as strength of schedule, so the numbers won't perfectly correlate.

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131: Looking for the linear relationship in a statistical package, I get DYAR = -42.49 + (15.03)DPAR [which is roughly DYAR=15(DPAR-3)]. The intercept is significantly different from zero (p=.0004), and the 95% confidence intervals for the numbers are (-56.82, -28.15) for the intercept and (14.88, 15.17) for the slope. This equation has an r^2 of 0.99981, and there's no visible pattern to the residuals. I don't see why there should be an intercept, so my guess is that Aaron made some last-minute tweaks to the formula between when he calculated the DPAR numbers in #97 and when he calculated the DYAR chart in the post.

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132. And why do you think those certain yards are more valuable than others?

Because gaining those yards increases the probability of scoring ...drumroll please... points.

139 Re: DPAR is Dead

Whoops, that was in response to 133.

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I prefer points but realize that, while people who prefer DPAR as a measurement to DYAR are sophisticated enough to use either, the FO staff may suspect that DYAR will be easier to explain to Fox Sport yahoos (in the Swiftean sense).

Has anyone ever used FO numbers for fantasy football?

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People wondering about the acronym:

The reason we're using DYAR and not YARD is because occasionally FO people appear on talk radio shows, podcasts etc., and having an FO stat which sounds identical to a widely used conventional stat would not be helpful in this medium.

We did consider DRAY (Defense and Replacement Adjusted Yardage - another stat which Tampa Bay ought to be good at) but DYAR had the votes. Me hearties.

142 Re: DPAR is Dead

Going back to something arlier in the thread, why would Brady be a red light to meet his 37 TD projection? Wouldn't that just mean it is a bad projection? Or maybe closer to his 75th percentile projection? The idea that you can be a bad risk to meet a projection kind of seems off to me. If that is the case then why is it the projection?

143 Re: DPAR is Dead

Re: Brady, and noting that this is not in any way an "official" answer.

Roughly the projection system goes:

"Hey, Brady had a really great season in 2007. All the variables relating to the New England offense say it should be fine, he's not old enough to be declining, so let's project more of the same".

Then other parts of the projection system say:

"Hang on. Brady's 2006 wasn't that good. In fact, Brady has never thrown anywhere near that many touchdowns and he's only gone over 4,000 yards once before. And after that one he dropped back down to around 3,500. Who wrote this projection anyway?" and gives it a "RED" reliability rating.

Most players are not particularly consistent and therefore a Green rating is something of a rarity.

144 Re: DPAR is Dead

Just got my hands on PFP '08 and I can barely contain myself.

145 Re: DPAR is Dead

How about we settle things this way:
Aaron tells us DPAR junkies how to convert DYAR to DPAR, and we give this new DYAR thing a shot.

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143: The projection system applies its own risk ratings? I always thought it was done manually. Chad Johnson has a Red rating, for example, because of the trade rumors and behavior issues and stuff. The projection system can't possibly know about that.

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I'll be happy either way, but if we still can see player DVOA, the DYAR change makes a lot of sense to me.

148 Re: DPAR is Dead

Since the problem here is some yards being more important than others, does it make any sense to measure yards in some fusion of fraction of the distance to the end zone, fraction of distance to the first-down line and fraction of 100 yards? Something simple, like cube the first, square the second, multiply the cube and the square and the last one, then take the cube root. A two-yard touchdown is cbrt(1*1*.02)=.2714=27.1 Fused Yards by this literally made-up-on-the-spot metric, whereas a nine-yard non-first-down from midfield is cbrt(.18^3*.9^2*.09)=.0752=7.5 Fused Yards. I'm sure the good people at FO can improve on the off-the-cuff version, maybe adjusting for down situation (twiddle the middle term somehow?) but I think the concept is fundamentally okay.

Also, re #94: The reason we don't measure production in PEPSIs and DONUTs is that the Player-Equivalent Point-Scoring Index is rubbish. Amd don't even get me started on Defense-Optimized Non-Ugly Throws.

149 Re: DPAR is Dead

Former QB-turned-stathead Virgil Carter's research said the value of field position in points (starting a drive, 1st & 10) V = 5.91 - 0.077 Y, where Y = the # of yards from the opponent's goal line. I'd assume that someone has expanded this to include other downs and distances, but I can't find anything on Google right now...

150 Re: DPAR is Dead

#145: It's roughly ~14.5 DYAR/DPAR, plus or minus a few percent. (Just divide the two lists Aaron gave).

Or you could just take 100 yards divided by 7 points, and get roughly the same answer.