Advanced Stats – Approximate Value

(Before I begin, to see the full idea behind approximate value, go to this link at Pro-Football-Reference.com. Now, back to the show)

So, some of you may be wondering why I’ve been short on posts the last couple of weeks. Well, it’s because I’ve been working on a system that PFR.com invented a few years back called Approximate Value. I’ve made some changes to how AV for offensive and defensive players are calculated, and I think, while not perfect, is at least some improvement in the system.

The Improvements

– Instead of calculating the amount of team points a team can have, I’ve given everybody 100 points, whether a team is 12-0 or 0-12. This allows for good players on bad teams to be rated fairly, and vice versa for bad players on good teams.

– Defensively, the system for calculating points seemed to be too complicated. However, I’ve corrected some things, and streamlined the process. Line play and defensive touchdowns, which were in the original calculus, have been taken out. Instead, defensive AV is calculated as so.

  • Tackling is 64% of points
  • Sacks are 20% of points
  • Interceptions are 19% of points

That’s it. I’ve also added multipliers for each stat for each position, so defensive linemen can be fairly calculated along with the rest of the defensive players.

So, without further adieu, here’s some of the AV’s I’ve calculated thus far. I think you’ll be surprised at who is #1 so far…

Lavonte David – 17
Cam Newton – 16
Ryan Kerrigan – 16
Terrelle Pryor – 16
Nick Fairley – 15
Andrew Luck – 14
Robert Griffin – 14
Alshon Jeffery – 14
Harrison Smith – 14
Jared Crick – 13
Kelvin Sheppard – 13
Taylor Martinez – 13
Skayne Skov – 13
Aaron Murray – 12
Marcus Lattimore – 11
Jayron Hosley – 11
Julio Jones – 11
Ryan Mallett – 11
Kellen Moore – 11
Tauren Poole – 11
Robert Lester – 11
Jeremy Beal – 11
Knile Davis – 10
Nigel Bradham – 10
Courtney Upshaw – 10
Darvin Adams – 10
Matt Barkley – 10
Chris Marve – 10
Michael Floyd – 9
Greg McElroy – 9
Bacarri Rambo – 9
Cameron Heyward – 9
Morris Claiborne – 8
Kapron Lewis-Moore – 8
AJ Green – 8
Dont’a Hightower – 8
Stevan Ridley – 7
Mark Ingram – 7
Marcel Dareus – 7
Patrick Peterson – 6
Brandon Harris – 4
DeMarcus Van Dyke – 4
Michael Dyer – 4

Lavonte David is the 2010 AV MVP

Perhaps then, Lavonte David’s 2010 campaign was quite nice, and even holds up in comparison to players like Cam Newton and Terrelle Pryor. I’m not saying that Lavonte David was better than Cam Newton last year. I’m saying that that comparison can be made and one might not look like a total fool when doing so. Now, for some things I think are wrong with the system.

Who is underrated by this system?

  • Ace returners, due to special teams not being calculated in AV. Patrick Peterson appears very weak in this system, but this is because his returning skills aren’t factored in
  • Running backs can be underrated if they split carries with multiple players (i.e. Michael Dyer)

Who is overrated by this system?

  • Linebackers with high tackle rates. Linebackers get a bonus for tackling.
  • Scrambling Quarterbacks. QB’s who run can compile bigger numbers than those that can’t.

Things still to work out

  • Defensive players are still probably a tad overrated, if only by a point.
  • Historic players really get shafted by this system. Tony Dorsett’s 2200+ yard 1976 system only gets a 9 in this system. I’ve got to work to change that.
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