September 5, 2007

WATCHING THOSE THREE WILL CERTAINLY PUT YOU TO SLEEP:

How To Watch Pro Football: Three sleeper teams for 2007 (Aaron Schatz, Sept. 4, 2007, Slate)

The NFL has more year-to-year change than America's other major sports leagues. Over the past decade, nearly 50 percent of the teams in the NFL playoffs didn't make the postseason the previous year. Every preseason, fans and football pundits struggle to predict which teams will surprise. At Football Outsiders, we identify teams on the rise with the help of our DVOA metric. Generally, our picks turn out pretty well. Last year, we missed on the Saints and Jets like everyone else, but we forecast a return to the playoffs for the Eagles and Chargers and were the only pundits to predict that the Oakland Raiders would become a top defense. And going back a bit, we won Salon's preseason predictions contest in both 2004 and 2005.

How does DVOA help us make predictions? DVOA, which stands for Defense-adjusted Value Over Average, is compiled by breaking down every play and comparing it with the league average based on situation and opponent. (You can learn more about the statistic here.) The most important aspect of DVOA is that, since it is based on play-by-play data, it can be broken down into smaller sets—plays that involve a certain player, down, or situation. Within those breakdowns, you'll find a number of trends that will help project the sleeper teams of 2007.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 5, 2007 12:00 AM
Comments

That's where fantasy football comes in handy. Draft a couple of their best players and all of a sudden you have a vested interest in the team.

Posted by: Bartman at September 5, 2007 11:38 AM
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