Week 2 DVOA Ratings
by Aaron Schatz
If the Week 2 DVOA ratings look strange to your eye, it's probably just because we don't yet include opponent adjustments. Otherwise, our early ratings match what the naked eye has seen on the field. None of the undefeated teams are ranked lower than 12th, with one exception. None of the winless teams are ranked higher than 24th, with one exception. All of the 1-1 teams are ranked between eighth (Tennessee) and 23rd (Houston).
The two exceptions both have to do with a game from Week 2. The 0-2 Los Angeles Chargers are 13th in DVOA, ahead of most of the 1-1 teams, while the 1-0 Miami Dolphins are way down at No. 25, below all the 1-1 teams. With Miami's victory over the Chargers on Sunday, we got our first game this season where the DVOA output was very different from the final score. The Chargers ended up with 19.3% DVOA and Miami was at -28.7% DVOA.
A closer look at the gamebook shows why our system rated the Chargers above the Dolphins for this game. The Chargers had 6.8 yards per offensive play compared to just 4.9 yards on average for the Dolphins. The Chargers had more first downs, 24 to 21. Both teams made it to the red zone three times, but the Chargers scored twice while the Dolphins kicked field goals all three times. Neither team turned the ball over, so that doesn't even out the ratings. What did even out the ratings somewhat was special teams performance. We all know Younghoe Koo missed a 44-yard field goal at the end that would have won the game for the Chargers, but he also missed a 43-yard field goal earlier on in the game. The Dolphins also got an average of 23.7 yards on kick returns from Kenyan Drake while the Chargers (with Austin Ekeler and Desmond King) averaged 16.5 yards on kick returns.
The Chargers have now lost two games by less than a field goal, and two games where they had the higher DVOA rating. It was a lot closer in Week 1, but the Chargers at 1.0% were higher than Denver at -5.5%. This result is also part of why the Broncos are ranked much lower than many readers might expect. At No. 12, they are the lowest of the 2-0 teams, but remember: they had a negative DVOA rating in Week 1 and there are no opponent adjustments yet to lift their statement win over the Dallas Cowboys in Week 2.
(Since this is sure to be asked: Yes, one of the ideas on my massive list of to-do projects is to work on a way to translate preseason projections to opponent adjustments, then figure how strong those should be early in the season. I would certainly like to do this so we can have more accurate ratings early in the year when a team such as the Rams clobbers a team such as the Colts. However, we don't know for sure yet which teams are good or bad, so we don't want to install opponent adjustments that are too strong.)
Another team whose rating is probably confusing for many readers is New England. Surely after a big win over New Orleans, the Patriots should have risen higher than just No. 22, right? As it turns out, New England ended up with surprisingly low 2.0% DVOA for the win over the Saints. The Patriots don't have much of an advantage on offense (50.0%) over defense (36.6%). The gap of 7.7 yards per play (Patriots) vs. 6.8 yards per play (Saints) isn't that big, and there were no turnovers. As powerful as it was, the Patriots offense slowed down in the red zone, forcing Stephen Gostkowski to kick three field goals under 30 yards. Meanwhile, the Patriots defense was having real problems. In the second half, the Saints were successful on 56 percent of their plays by our baselines. That's terrible defense. Yes, the Patriots were nursing a lead, but allowing points and first downs with a big lead is still an indication of defensive issues. If you don't believe me, ask the Atlanta Falcons. There was also a rare game for Patriots special teams. Stephen Gostkowski missed the first extra point try, the Saints' Alvin Kamara and Trey Edmunds combined to average 22.8 yards on five kick returns, and Thomas Morstead's three punts had a net average of 40.3 yards while Ryan Allen's three punts averaged a net of just 31.7 yards.
A couple of unforced errors for the Saints (an aborted snap, a missed field goal) mean the Saints' DVOA is more negative (-27.7%) than the Patriots' DVOA is positive (2.0%).
The lack of opponent adjustments shows itself in the order of the 2-0 teams. Just as Denver is not bumped up because it beat a good Dallas team, Atlanta is not bumped up because it beat a good Green Bay team. Of course, as I noted above: after just two weeks of the season, we don't know for sure if those opponents are as tough as we think they are. Meanwhile, Baltimore is No. 1 after two weeks because the system isn't punishing them for "only" demolishing Cleveland and Cincinnati. However, even considering who they've beat, the Ravens defense has been phenomenal so far. How good? The Baltimore Ravens have the best defensive DVOA after Week 2 of any team since 1989. No team had ever managed a DVOA under -70% in its first two games. Most of the teams that came close went on to have strong defenses all year; the big exception is the crazy 2002 San Diego team that started the season 6-1 and then finished 2-7. Remember, none of the Week 1-2 ratings listed here include opponent adjustments:
|Best Defensive DVOA in Weeks 1-2, 1989-2017|
|Year||Team||DVOA||W-L||Final DVOA||Final Rank||Results|
|2017||BAL||-70.8%||2-0||--||--||20-0 at CIN, 24-10 vs. CLE|
|1989||CLE1||-69.5%||2-0||-16.9%||3||51-0 at PIT, 38-24 vs. NYJ|
|2006||BAL||-68.7%||2-0||-23.0%||1||27-0 at TB, 28-6 vs. OAK|
|2002||SD||-64.5%||2-0||2.4%||22||34-6 at CIN, 24-3 vs. HOU|
|2012||HOU||-60.1%||2-0||-14.2%||4||30-10 vs. MIA, 27-7 at JAC|
|2005||TB||-54.5%||2-0||-8.6%||8||24-13 at MIN, 19-3 vs. BUF|
|1999||TB||-54.1%||1-1||-19.4%||2||13-17 vs. NYG (L), 19-5 at PHI|
|1991||PHI||-52.8%||1-1||-42.4%||1||20-3 at GB, 10-26 vs. PHX (L)|
|1996||DEN||-52.6%||2-0||-15.3%||3||31-6 vs. NYJ, 30-20 at SEA|
|1996||GB||-51.7%||2-0||-19.3%||1||34-3 at TB, 39-13 vs. PHI|
(By the way, the ranking stops at 1989 because we haven't gone back and done 1986-1988 DVOA as of certain weeks of each season.)
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Once again this season, we have teamed up with EA Sports to bring Football Outsiders-branded player content to Madden 18. This year, our content for Madden Ultimate Team on consoles comes monthly, while our content for Madden Mobile comes weekly. Come back to each Tuesday's DVOA commentary article for a list of players who stood out during the previous weekend's games. Those players will get special Madden Mobile items branded as "Powerline, powered by Football Outsiders," beginning at 11am Eastern on Friday. We will also tweet out images of these players from the @fboutsiders Twitter account on most Fridays.
Since we've received a few questions about this, we want to let readers know how finding Football Outsiders players is different for Madden Mobile compared to Madden Ultimate Team on consoles. All Powerline players are in packs starting Friday, but you can also get a Powerline player with a Powerline Live Event in the game on Fridays. You can upgrade from a regular Gold Powerline player to the Elite Hero of the week with 120 "Power Cells" collected while playing Madden Mobile.
The Football Outsiders stars for Week 2 are:
- C Alex Mack, ATL (HERO): Helped lead Falcons RB to 25 carries for 126 yards, with no blown pass blocks.
- CB Brandon Carr, BAL: Allowed only 2 completions on 8 targets for 15 yards with an interception and 4 PDs.
- DE Chris Jones, KC: 3 sacks, 2 FF, interception.
- SS Derrick Kindred, CLE: 3 TFL and tackle to prevent third-down conversion.
- G Brandon Scherff, WAS: Helped lead Redskins RB to 36 carries for 222 yards.
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All stats pages are now updated through Week 2 of 2017. That includes for the first time offensive lines and defensive lines. Snap counts and playoff odds are also fully updated. The FO Premium DVOA database is also updated through Week 2. Because Miami and Tampa Bay have only played one game apiece, we're going to wait one more week before we switch over the Matchup View from 2016 full-season splits to 2017 partial-season splits.
We also now have 2016 stats finally added to player pages for both offensive and defensive players. That includes not just DVOA and DYAR but our individual defense stats such as cornerback coverage, hurries, average yardage of tackles, and defeats. However, there's a lot of housekeeping that we're behind on with all our various stats pages. My apologies for being stuck so far behind. One of the issues we're working on for future offseasons is automating more of our processes so that it doesn't take so much time to update things. Meanwhile, we have a whole bunch of changes and additions we mean to get to in the next couple of months, including:
- Updating similarity scores on player pages for the first time in two years.
- Adding 1986-1990 stats to player pages.
- Adding 1986-1988 to the premium DVOA database.
- Updating "last year" listing on 1989 stats pages now that 1988 is done.
- Adding drive stats prior to 1996.
- Updating quarterback stats pages to reflect a minimum of 200 attempts to be ranked (instead of 100) and updated ESPN QBR with opponent adjustments.
- Updating adjusted line yards pages based on the new system of normalizing to each year's ALY to that year's average yards per carry instead of a generic multiyear average of yards per carry.
- Fixing the premium DVOA database to make it easier to search for historical stats from teams that have changed cities.
We know that's a lot, but we're working on it!
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These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through two weeks of 2017, measured by our proprietary Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA) system that breaks down every single play and compares a team's performance to the league average based on situation in order to determine value over average. (Explained further here.)
OFFENSE and DEFENSE DVOA are adjusted to consider all fumbles, kept or lost, as equal value. SPECIAL TEAMS DVOA is adjusted for type of stadium (warm, cold, dome, Denver) and week of season. As always, positive numbers represent more points so DEFENSE is better when it is NEGATIVE.
Please note that there are no opponent adjustments in DVOA until after Week 4. (It's still listed as DVOA instead of VOA because I don't feel like going through and changing all the tables manually.) In addition, our second weekly table which includes schedule strength, variation, and Estimated Wins will appear beginning after Week 4.
DAVE is a formula which combines our preseason projection with current DVOA to get a more accurate forecast of how a team will play the rest of the season. Right now, the preseason projection makes up 80 percent of DAVE for most teams (90 percent for Miami and Tampa Bay).
To save people some time, please use the following format for all complaints:
<team> is clearly ranked <too high/too low> because <reason unrelated to DVOA>. <subjective ranking system> is way better than this. <unrelated team-supporting or -denigrating comment, preferably with poor spelling and/or chat-acceptable spelling>
55 comments, Last at 26 Sep 2017, 10:41am
#1 by DezBailey // Sep 19, 2017 - 8:30pm
Week 2 BES Rankings went out this morning - http://besreport.com/week-2-bes-rankings-2017/
Seems DVOA and BES are basically in agreement as who the top-10 teams are but not so much their order. Both have the Lions at #4. That ATL@DET game is going to be huge with both teams missing key defenders. Great duel of QB's as well.
Interesting take on the Chargers by DVOA. In the BES, they've lost both games to teams with higher BES scores but DVOA hints at a much stronger Bolts team than the BES gives credit. In fact, simply judging by where DVOA has the Chargers ranked (13th), one could argue they've gathered the momentum to deliver the Chiefs their first loss of the season in Week 3. Those AFC West games are typically dogfights. KC@LAC could be one of best games of the weekend.
#29 by Aaron Brooks G… // Sep 20, 2017 - 9:06am
Detroit's in trouble against Atlanta. Their defensive DVOA is inflated by playing two teams that can't offense.
I'm amused that their STs are #1, given that ST play in the first quarter of game 1 nearly cost them the game. They had three punters in the first 65 minutes of the season. I guess shtoinking in a couple of bomb FGs and having the only kick return TD helps.
#31 by JoeyHarringtonsPiano // Sep 20, 2017 - 10:42am
They have a short if the defense can just be middling instead of terrible like last year (just thinking about playing Atlanta with last year's defense gives me cold sweats). Just like their defensive DVOA is being inflated by opponents, I feel like their offensive DVOA is being depressed by a hyper-conservative game plan against the Giants (they were basically running a 4 minute offense for the entire second half). I think they can open it up when they need to.
#2 by dmstorm22 // Sep 19, 2017 - 8:32pm
I am shocked NE is still ranked slightly worse than NO on defense.
Surprised TEN is #3 on offense, but I guess that makes sense since I know they scored out fairly well in Week 1 against OAK and then had a great 2nd half.
Oddly, I'm really looking forward to that SEA @ TEN game next week - another good test for Tennessee and I want to see their offense against the SEA defense (surprised they are only 10th in Defensive DVOA).
Not surprised two weeks in that a lot of the top teams are defense driven (apart from KC, so far). That BAL score is ridiculous, but that's what forcing 10 turnovers in two games will do, I guess.
#46 by Tundrapaddy // Sep 20, 2017 - 7:25pm
I say this as a (partial) Seahawks fan; the Seattle defense has not looked 'elite' thus far, merely 'good'. And their offense is closer to 'dumpster fire' than 'elite'.
Furthermore, that 'good' defense doesn't seem as well designed for power rush attacks. I think Tennessee is going to eat the Seahawks' lunch, in Tennessee.
#4 by dmstorm22 // Sep 19, 2017 - 8:37pm
I do wonder if whenever Ozzie Newsome retires this will change. They've still invested a lot of draft capital in defense over the years, and overall seem to scout better for defense (and guards - oddly BAL has always had pretty good guards).
Interesting that PIT did for a couple years change their stripes (and still are more offense heavy), but no BAL is just defense every year.
The one year they approached good balance was 2014, or I guess 2012 playoffs. But BAL's consistency on defense has really been just a joy to watch, from 2000 all the way through now.
#7 by PaddyPat // Sep 19, 2017 - 8:50pm
The 2006 Baltimore offense was very decently average with McNair at the helm, and the 2009 team was number 9 on offense in Flacco's second year, albeit stronger in the running than passing games. Admittedly, they were still better on defense in both seasons.
#8 by dmstorm22 // Sep 19, 2017 - 8:57pm
Yeah, the '06 group was decent. Didn't remember '09 being Top-10 in DVOA, though it does make sense. DVOA loved the 2009 Ravens.
I think 2014 was the only year where they were ranked both high and the DEF didn't outclass the OFF.
#5 by dmstorm22 // Sep 19, 2017 - 8:44pm
After what week do you generally start tracking 'Team has highest DVOA through X' for all stats, and post those short 1-10 tables?
I realize you did this somewhat for BAL, but guessing that's because they have been so outlandishly good through two weeks.
Loving that BAL's passing DVOA is -102%. CAR at #2 is really far behind at -40%. They are closer to OAK at 22nd than Baltimore.
#9 by Vincent Verhei // Sep 19, 2017 - 9:00pm
Ravens opponents are completing less than half their passes, with 1 touchdown, 8 sacks, and 8 interceptions. (Jacksonville only had 7 interceptions in all of last year.) So yeah, they've basically been impossibly good so far.
#10 by dmstorm22 // Sep 19, 2017 - 9:05pm
The 8 INTs is the staggering one. Opponents passer rating is 35.0. All incompletes is 39.8.
Putting it that way makes me appreciate the 2002 Bucs, who while not as outlandish, weren't too far off for the season:
Opposing QBs went 259/510 (50.8%), for 2,785 yards (5.5 y/a), with 10 TDs and 31 INTs, for a passer rating of 48.4. Again FOR THE SEASON. Added in 43 sacks as well.
The average QB went 16-32, with 175 yards, 0.6 TDs and 2 INTs.
#11 by mrrickyg // Sep 19, 2017 - 9:43pm
Don't know what you are talking about -- Raidersfan is living the dream. A championship caliber DVOA that is backed up with respect by DAVE (going from rank 8 DVOA to rank 4 DAVE). Elite offense with some issues on defense -- Raidersfan knows the defense has issues. Derek Carr and Michael Crabtree leading in DYAR. What is there to complain about?
#19 by Sleet // Sep 19, 2017 - 10:41pm
Really? The Raiders' D held Tenn (looked where it's O is ranked) to 16 points and less than 70 yards rushing by Murray and Henry, and you think the D earned a 30th ranking last week and earned moving up 3 spots for giving up 20 points to the Jets?
Truth be told, it was a different defense this week. The Raiders played in the nickel far more, inviting the Jets to run clock (which they did), with two big DT in the game for only 4 snaps (as opposed to 24 snaps against Tenn). Back-ups Ward and Cowswer also got long looks this week, including on the Jets' first TD drive. Mack and Irvin played their fewest snaps since they have been with the Raiders.
Anyway, there's no way for FO to adjust for that. That said, more than 5 defenses have played worse than the Raiders' D through 2 weeks.
#20 by Craigo // Sep 19, 2017 - 11:21pm
"Really? The Raiders' D held Tenn (looked where it's O is ranked) to 16 points and less than 70 yards rushing by Murray and Henry, and you think the D earned a 30th ranking last week and earned moving up 3 spots for giving up 20 points to the Jets?"
There are no opponent adjustments yet. You've been told this multiple times over the past two weeks. I don't understand how you possibly can't understand that.
Can you please answer a simple question, yes or no: Are you aware that there are no opponent adjustments at this point in the season?
#23 by Sleet // Sep 20, 2017 - 2:41am
What's going to move the needle more in terms of an adjustment? The better performance against the Titans, when the Raiders' D played less nickel, more bigs, and Mack and Irvin played the entire game (less 1 snap)? Or the lesser performance against the Jets, when the Raiders' D played more nickel, fewer bigs, rested Mack and Irvin, and invited the Jets to run the clock, which the Jets did, a performance FO already liked more, relatively speaking, moving the Raiders' D up 3 spots?
Even raw stats don't support Week 1's 30th ranking. What don't you understand about my opinion?
#44 by MC2 // Sep 20, 2017 - 6:47pm
Once the adjustments kick in, DVOA will probably like the Raiders' Week 1 performance a lot more and their Week 2 performance a lot less, than it currently does.
Put another way, the lack of adjustments is the reason why DVOA "underrates" their Week 1 performance, yet simultaneously "overrates" their Week 2 performance. Why is that so hard to grasp?
#22 by Sleet // Sep 20, 2017 - 2:40am
Your remark seems to forget I'm not the one trying to make money from selling lists/rankings?
How many fans in general, including Raiders fans, don't revisit FO b/c FO's signature list/ranking doesn't reflect what they feel they saw on the field--which is supported by other published stats (including PFF's grading)?
To the extent that I'm unique, it's b/c I like FO notwithstanding the disconnect. I'm just expressing my opinion about it, perhaps fruitlessly thinking someone is listening rather than stubbornly trying to marginalize any criticism.
#45 by MC2 // Sep 20, 2017 - 6:57pm
I've never understood the complaint that the DVOA rankings don't mirror conventional wisdom. Hypothetically, let's say FO figured out a way to "rig" DVOA so it matched conventional wisdom. What would be the point of doing so? There are already scores of sites that publish power rankings based on conventional wisdom. The whole point of DVOA is to try to measure teams in a way that doesn't rely on conventional wisdom.
As for "stubbornly trying to marginalize any criticism", I'm doing no such thing, and I haven't seen many (if any) other regulars here trying to do so either. Personally, I think there are many valid criticisms of DVOA. But its failure to just regurgitate conventional wisdom is certainly not one of them.
#52 by Sleet // Sep 21, 2017 - 7:38pm
You truly think a #30 ranking for the Raiders' D after Week 1 (even prior to any adjustment for Tenn) is an accurate rating?
Really? That says more about you than me.
There is plenty of objective data out there, you don't need to take my word for it. Three of my favorite are low RB rushing yards, fairly high number of QB pressures, and multiple redzone stops, which is indicative of a DL that is controlling the OL. Winning in the trenches is the mark of a good D, and why the Raiders' D gave up only 16 points Week 1.
Your post has it backwards. My objection is not about what I think the ranking should be; it is about what the ranking "should not" be (#30), as the metric (and the hard work put into it) is not accurate. I don't know what the ranking should be. That is why I came to FO to see what it "should" be. I was disappointed b/c FO published a ranking that was not accurate.
Perhaps you don't see the difference.
#53 by Bright Blue Shorts // Sep 22, 2017 - 7:16am
How do you know there aren't 29 other defenses that are playing better?
If you haven't watched the play-by-play of every other team to get the bigger picture of the state of defense in the league, you can't objectively know where the Raiders rank.
#51 by Alternator // Sep 21, 2017 - 12:27pm
[The Raiders] are clearly ranked [too high] because [no team owned by Al Davis's progeny can possibly be competent]. [Conventional wisdom among Vegas fans] is way better than this. [The Vegas Raiders need a new owner, to expunge the recent history of failure and incompetence.]
#15 by Cythammer // Sep 19, 2017 - 10:19pm
So through two weeks the Jets are only narrowly the worst team in NYC. When you factor in that that at least McCown was able to throw it around a little and score a decent number of points against the Raiders, I think I would've much preferred if it were the Jets who had had two primetime games so far.
#18 by Will Allen // Sep 19, 2017 - 10:32pm
Last night, I once again was watching Eli Manning and the Giants, and thinking, how does this team win 3 games all year? Then I remembered thinking the same thing early last season. They ended up winning 11. Yes, there have been years in the Eli era where they were lousy all year, but I don't recall any other team which has gone from cover your eyes awful, to pretty good, or even great, all within one season, as frequently as the Eli Giants have. Kind of like their qb. Just weird, it seems to me.
#24 by JoeyHarringtonsPiano // Sep 20, 2017 - 4:14am
I do remember them having some ugly losses in 2007 and 2011 (including a 4 game losing streak in 2011, after which everyone pretty much wrote them off). However, I don't think they ever looked this bad, (but that could be recency bias), and at least they had to decency to not bore us on prime time.
#30 by Otis Taylor89 // Sep 20, 2017 - 10:26am
It would be a lot easier if you had the 2017 #1 overall pick in your lineup, but how many games will he be playing and how effective will he be? Could be a lost year all around - and that may not be a bad thing in the long run.
#28 by Danish Denver-Fan // Sep 20, 2017 - 8:35am
You should do a preseason poll of your premium subscribers. Ask them to estimate the DVOA (offense,defense) of each team. Then use this "conventional wisdom" estimate to adjust the early season standings. As the season progresses this gets fased out and the actual DVOA adjustments are fased in. That way we should get a somewhat reasonably looking DVOA ranking the first couple of weeks.
Premium users are sufficiently comfortable with DVOA to supply a decent estimate.
This probably won't work becase of some obvious reason i'm overlooking.