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Cynthia Frelund's All-Analytics Team

NFL Network Analytics Expert Cynthia Frelund has released her All-Analytics Team, the best players in the league according to her statistics. She does not go into great deal into her methodology, but her commentary includes several uses of both play-by-play splits and film-based charting data.

You can read the article for her full list, but most of Frelund's picks match up with ours. Here are a few spots where our numbers differ though:

  • Wide Receiver: Frelund's choices were Houston's DeAndre Hopkins and New Orleans' Michael Thomas, who finished second and third in our numbers behind Tyler Lockett. Tyreek Hill passes both of them if you include rushing value.
  • Offensive Line: We do not have individual offensive line metrics, but Frelund's selection of Philadelphia center Jason Kelce is curious. The Eagles offensive line was in the middle of the pack in adjusted line yards and adjusted sack rate.
  • Edge Rusher: Frelund's choices -- Houston's J.J. Watt and Chicago's Khalil Mack -- finished fourth and tied for 13th in defeats at the position. Frelund cites some team defensive stats and ability to draw double-teams in her commentary. As for the top edge rushers in defeats ... well, that article is coming soon.
  • Linebacker: No dispute with Luke Kuechly or Darius Leonard, but Frelund's third selection, Bobby Wagner, was just tied for 10th at the position in defeats. Lavonte David, once again, gets overlooked.
  • Cornerback: Stephon Gilmore led all corners in success rate and was second in yards allowed per target, so his choice makes sense, but Kyle Fuller didn't make the top 10 in either category, and opponents threw at him a ton. Patrick Peterson and Richard Sherman were the only full-time starters last year to finish in the top 10 in both target rate (as in, opponents avoided them) and success rate, though both were more susceptible to big plays than you might guess.
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8 comments, Last at 19 Jun 2019, 3:37am

1 Re: Cynthia Frelund's All-Analytics Team

Given the nature of the media platform Ms. Frelund is on, I have never been a fan of her analysis. These conclusions (relative to the FO analytics) is further prove of that.

I can only wish that one day, major media outlets (i.e., NFLN, ESPN, Fox Sports, etc) will incorporate personalities such as Vincent Verhei, Aaron Schatz, Rivers McCown and/or Warren Sharp into their regular programming.

Based on merit below, I could certainly make the argument too.

"Cynthia (@cfrelund) joins NFL Media from ESPN, where she served as a Predictive Analytics Analyst on SportsCenter for the past two years. Prior to joining ESPN, Cynthia was manager of Business Development for Disney/ABC in Los Angeles, analyst for the NFL's CFO, and senior analyst for Fusion Finance."

I will say if you are looking for someone to train you for a Marathon, Ms. Frelund may be the best in the business, "she has completed 20 marathons in 20 different states; almost halfway to her goal of completing a marathon in each state. "

source: https://nflcommunications.com/Pages/Analytics-Expert-Cynthia-Frelund-Joins-NFL-Media-Group.aspx

2 Re: Cynthia Frelund's All-Analytics Team

I only glanced at the article, but I notice she jumps back and forth between using rate stats and counting stats to justify her picks. Especially on defense, she seems to rely mostly on counting stats (see: Chris Jones over Fletcher Cox, for an example).

The tone is also not what I'm used to. She seems to be arguing to justify her picks, rather than talking about what the numbers said for whom and why. I guess that's just what has to happen when you're writing on NFL.com instead of FO.com.

3 Re: Cynthia Frelund's All-Analytics Team

if get time (not liekly( will read for tone analysis. maybe writer was arguing with ghost in rooom or opretneding peter Kong or M. Tanier was in room and liked fuifferent guys. Maybe that is why article is apprentlty lady arguing with someone or something.

Speaking og self-arguiong, notice ad here of fat beagle layign on bed with caption mentioning 3 signs your dog is crying for help. beign plump and just layign on bed coudl be a sign. Also could be that dog likes it. Maybe it ran around a lot in younger days but decided it didn't liek that anymore. It should still at leats like to walk. maybe if tooo lazy to do that, you bring a hamburger with you . stick it on tree branch and hold it out in front of you. or just oput in bag. also, cold cuts work wonders too. Maybe ptu some black forest ham or head cheese or salami and take that. Unless sick, that will make the dog wlak with you. If it still won't wlka, tehn take dog to vet as obviously it is likely diseased

4 Re: Cynthia Frelund's All-Analytics Team

I think the comments here are a bit harsh. Yes, Frelund disagrees with FO on a few players, but It's hard to argue entirely against her selections. The main disagreements are about linemen, which even FO admits are difficult to evaluate. Note that FO's disagreement with Kelce is that the Eagle's OL was mediocre. Hardly definitive. Frelund uses pressures for D-line, FO uses defeats. Both are valid. Frelund uses preventing QB pressures, FO uses ALY and sack rates. This is not an exact science, as even Football Outsiders would acknowledge.

5 Re: Cynthia Frelund's All-Analytics Team

Kelce, Watt, Mack, and Wagner all look to me like they belong. Different stats will paint slightly different pictures, but they at least seem like strong candidates for best in the league at their positions. Kyle Fuller is a bit more of a stretch - it's surprising to see him make it while Eddie Jackson does not.

6 Re: Cynthia Frelund's All-Analytics Team

Is Frelund perfect? Nope. But neither is FO. I have been reading FO for about 15 years now, and they have said quite a few things that seemed silly at the time, and look even worse in hindsight. I'm sure the same thing will happen to Frelund. But in spite of that, her analysis is significantly better than almost any of the other talking heads on TV (with a couple of notable exceptions, such as Tony Romo).

Instead of jealously sniping at Frelund, FO should celebrate her, as her prominent position on a platform like NFLN augurs well for mainstream acceptance of analytics in the future.