Football Perspective is teaming up again with the fine folks at FanDuel to provide another promotion for our readers. As you know, Football Perspective turns down just about advertising requests. But this is different, and frankly, this isn’t even advertising. Because we’ve got a great community here, FanDuel is happy to bring a fun promotion to those readers who may be interested in playing.

For the uninitiated, FanDuel is fantasy football with a twist: you compete for real money by selecting any player you want each week under a salary cap format. Each player has a price, so the goal is to figure out who are the undervalued players and fit nine starters under a salary cap. Instead of drafting a team for a season, you draft a team for a week, as frequently or infrequently as you like (i.e., you can enter every week, or play in week 1, week 3, and then every week the rest of the year starting in week 10 — and not be behind the curve). You can compete in games for as little as $1 or as much as $535 per game. Once you play around with the site, you’ll see all the different options: head-to-head games, 50/50 games, 3-man, 5-man, 10-man, 20-man, or big tournament games.

That’s cool, but what’s really cool is that because FanDuel is a fan of Football Perspective, the site is offering a great promotion. If you haven’t deposited money with FanDuel before, a 100% deposit bonus (for up to $200) will be provided to Football Perspective readers. Click here to sign up by clicking the orange “Play Now” button, and the promo code PERSPECTIVE will be entered for you.  If you put down $100, you’ll now have $200 to play with.  Deposit $200, and you’ll get $400. That’s a pretty sweet deal. If you have experience any problems, please post a note here in the comments or email support[at]fanduel[dot]com.

Another cool feature: if there’s enough interest, FanDuel has offered to set up some a weekly tournament among Football Perspective readers.  In any event, I plan on competing most weeks this year — and, of course, blogging about it — as I think the daily game space is one of the most exciting parts of fantasy football. I’ll be competing as ChasePerspective.

So how do you play? You pick 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 PK, and 1 DT each week. There’s a salary cap of $60K. And that’s pretty much all you need to know.  Of course, here are some of my thoughts on strategy: [click to continue…]

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Over at Five Thirty Eight, I look at whether the Broncos pass offense, or the Seahawks pass defense, is more immune from regression to the mean.

 As a general rule, elite offenses are further from league average than great defenses, so offensive regression isn’t as likely as defensive regression. It helps, too, that research has shown offenses to be more consistent from year to year than defenses. All else being equal, we would expect the Broncos to be the more likely team to repeat last year’s brilliant performance.But all else isn’t equal. Denver produced 2013’s record-breaking numbers while playing defenses from the AFC South and the NFC East; those will be replaced this year by the AFC East and the NFC West, divisions that present much more formidable challenges. That’s a significant change.

According to Football Outsiders, Denver played the third-easiest slate of opposing defenses in 2013. Based purely on adjusted net yards per attempt, the average defense Manning faced last year was 0.44 ANY/A below average, and that’s after adjusting those defenses’ ratings for the fact that they played Manning. Only Alex Smith and Robert Griffin III faced more cupcakes. Last year, Manning didn’t Omaha against a single defense that ranked in the top eight in strength-of-schedule ANY/A; this year, he’s set to face six opponents that ranked in the top eight in that metric in 2013.

You can read the full article here.

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This time last year:

Brady will be the Patriots week 1 starting quarterback for the 13th year in a row.

Brady will be the Patriots week 1 starting quarterback for the 13th year in a row.

It’s easy to remember those times and think “man, life moves pretty fast.” But I’m going to take the opposite approach.

Twenty-five teams — twenty-five teams! — are bringing back the same week 1 starting quarterback from week 1, 2013. That, of course, doesn’t include Foles or Henne, who ended last year as starters. Last year, twenty-six teams had the same week one starter as they did in 2012. As it turns out, the past two seasons have seen the highest week 1 starting QB retention rate of any seasons since the merger. [click to continue…]

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Not Tim Couch

Not Tim Couch.

The preseason is meaningless, right? Well, as it turns out, it might give us a window into quarterback development, despite what you might think. The threshold for whether the preseason is useful is whether including that information tells us anything about a quarterback’s potential that we don’t already know from his draft position (or perhaps certain analytics). I have been putting together data from preseason box scores going back to 1997. The data show that, for some quarterbacks, the preseason is not quite meaningless.

Neil Paine showed some interesting evidence relating to this idea on Friday. Looking at team performance since 2009 for teams with new quarterbacks, Neil showed that preseason passing efficiency helps predict regular season passing efficiency. It’s important to note that part of this result may have been pretty predictable even before we watched those preseason games. The 2012 Redskins replaced Rex Grossman and John Beck with the #2 pick in the draft who would have been #1 in an average year. So we would expect a big improvement to come just by way of moving from Grossman to a healthy RGIII. [click to continue…]

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Some background links:

Today I want to look at the latest odds from Vegas on NFL futures, this time courtesy of Bovada.  While we often focus on the number of wins a team is projected to have, the payouts associated with each bet are also key sources of information. Consider the Bears and the Panthers, two teams Bovada has pegged at 8.5 wins. You might think Chicago projects as a better team than Carolina this year; as it turns out, so does Bovada.

If you want to bet on Chicago winning more than 8.5 games this year, Bovada is requiring you bet $155 just to win $100 in the event the Bears win nine games. Of course, if you’re brave enough to suggest that the Bears will win eight or fewer games, Bovada would pay you $125 for your $100 bet. While Chicago is at -155(o)/+125(u), the Panthers are at +145(o), -175(u). So if you think the Panthers are overvalued at 8.5 wins, well, you need to bet $175 on the under just to win $100 if Carolina falls short of that number. On the other hand, Bovada would pay you $145 if you want to take the Panthers winning nine or more games.

Based on those numbers, we can conclude that Vegas thinks Chicago has a 58.2% chance of going over 8.5 wins1, while Carolina has just a 38.6% chance of going over 8.5 wins.2 The table below shows the number of projected wins for each team in the NFL this year, along with the lines associated with their over and under bets. The final column shows the implied likelihood (by the over/under lines) of the team going over their win total; that column was used to break ties between teams with the same number of projected wins.

[click to continue…]

  1. The -155 implies a 60.8% chance of going over 8.5 wins (155/255), while the +125 on the under implies a 55.5% chance of going over 8.5 wins (1 – [100/225]).  The average of 0.555 and 0.608 is .582. []
  2. An over line of +145 implies a 40.8% chance of going over (100/245), while an under of -175 implies just a 36.4% chance of going over (1 – [175/275] []

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Robert Quinn finds out who the team's offensive coordinator is

Robert Quinn finds out who the team's offensive coordinator is.

Bill Barnwell and Robert Mays do a great job on their NFL podcasts. Yesterday, I listened to their NFC West preview, and it’s just stunning the amount of highly drafted talent the Rams have on both lines. We already know that the Rams have four former first rounders on the team’s starting defensive line, making them the first team since the 2012 Saints to pull off that feat. With Robert Quinn, Chris Long, Michael Brockers, and Aaron Donald, St. Louis has the best defensive line (at least on paper) in the NFL.

But the Rams also have two former first round picks on the offensive line, too, with Jake Long and Greg Robinson, the team’s first overall pick this year.  In fact, consider:

  • St. Louis has three linemen who were first or second overall picks: Long, Long, and Robinson. (Imagine if the Jason Smith pick worked out?)
  • The Rams also have three other linemen drafted in the top fourteen in Quinn, Brockers, and Donald.
  • Add in Rodger Saffold, and seven of the Rams’ starting nine linemen were drafted in the top 33. The exceptions: Scott Wells and Joe Barksdale.

[click to continue…]

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Site News: Call For Help

August 15, 2014 Announcements

As regular readers know, this website has been experiencing some significant issues over the past couple of days. For long stretches, the website was down, and certain pages have been unavailable throughout this period. Why? That’s the tricky part. I’m not a tech guy, but as best I can tell, there were two issues: 1) […]

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Will Calvin Johnson Break Jerry Rice’s Career Receiving Yards Record?

August 14, 2014 Receiving

Over the last three seasons, Calvin Johnson has caught 5,137 yards of passes. That’s an incredible amount, and the most by a player over any three-year span in NFL history. That stat by itself isn’t proof of Johnson’s greatness – after all, Detroit has thrown 2,040 passes over the last three years, also the most […]

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Predictions: Rob Gronkowski’s Chances of Making it Through the Season

August 13, 2014 Statistics

In the 2011 AFC Championship Game against the Ravens, Bernard Pollard happened to Rob Gronkowski. And the Patriots offense ground to a halt for the rest of the game before being held to just 17 points in the Super Bowl.1 In 2012, it was a freak injury on an extra point and then a reinjury […]

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Which Young Quarterbacks Are On Track To Become Franchise QBs?

August 12, 2014 Current Events

Yesterday, I looked at how long it took the best quarterbacks to break out. Today, I want to apply what we learned from that post to 15 current NFL quarterbacks with fewer than 50 starts, all of whom were 26 years old or younger during the 2013 season. Sam Bradford (49 career starts): Career Relative […]

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How Long Does It Take Great Quarterbacks To Break out?

August 11, 2014 History

A couple of years ago, I asked how long it should have taken the Jaguars to move on from Blaine Gabbert. Today I want to revisit that general idea, but look at how long it takes the best quarterbacks to identify themselves as top-tier players. A couple of months ago, I looked at the greatest […]

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Super Bowl Champions and Top-Heavy Divisions

August 10, 2014 Theory

The NFL realigned its divisions in 2002, placing four divisions of four teams each in each conference. Some divisions have been top-heavy, with the most obvious example being the 2007 AFC East. The Patriots won 16 games, while the Jets, Dolphins, and Bills combined to win just twelve games (with six of those twelve wins […]

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Thoughts on Jerome Bettis and Running Back Size

August 9, 2014 Rushing

Jerome Bettis is a polarizing Hall of Fame candidate. I’m on the fence with the Bus; I don’t think he’s as deserving as Steelers fans think, but he’s a more deserving candidate than those who mostly remember end-of-career-Bus remember. One thing I’ve heard from time to time about Bus is that he was the greatest […]

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Footballguys.com – Why You Should Subscribe

August 8, 2014 Announcements

Regular readers know that I’m one of the writers at Footballguys.com. I think regular readers know that I’m not a very good salesman, either. But if you are a hardcore fantasy footballer, you probably already know that Footballguys.com is the single best source for fantasy football information. If you are a more casual fantasy football […]

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The New CBA and the Youthification of NFL Rosters

August 7, 2014 History

Some teams, like the Rams have done a good job of fielding a very young roster; others, like the Raiders, have made a conscious effort to head in the other direction. Overall, the Rams are more representative of the current trend. NFL teams have made a shift towards younger players in the last three years, although […]

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Leading Receivers Trivia

August 6, 2014 Trivia

Roger Craig, 1985. Terrell Owens, 1999. Terrell Owens, 2000. Tim Brown, 2001. Neil Paine wrote a fantastic post today at 538 about wide receivers competing with their teammates for production. That inspired me to start crunching some numbers. From 1985 to 2003, Jerry Rice played in at least 8 games in 18 different seasons. In […]

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Thoughts on Completion Percentage By Position

August 5, 2014 Thought Experiments

According to Football Outsiders, over the last three years, 60% of all passes have gone to wide receivers, 21% to tight ends, and 19% to running backs. There are some players who are position hybrids, of course, but as a general rule, wide receiers catch about 56.3% of passes, tight ends have a 63.1% catch […]

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Being Young Isn’t What it Used to Be: The Harder Road to an NFL Dynasty

August 4, 2014 History

In the Super Bowl era, there has been just one team that was both the youngest in the league and one of the five best teams in football: the 2012 Seattle Seahawks. As friend of Football Perspective Neil Paine recently pointed out, being young and great has historically been a good predictor of teams that […]

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Touchdowns in Losses

August 3, 2014 Trivia

A fun trivia question from Scott Kacsmar this week: The most TD passes a QB threw in one season in games he LOST is 25. Name the QB, and if you can, the year. Here’s the answer: Who is the career leader in touchdown passes in losses? Who is the single-season leader in rushing touchdowns […]

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Trivia: Most Passing Yards in Final 16 Regular Season Games

August 2, 2014 History

The past couple of days, we looked at the players with the most receiving yards and rushing yards in their final 16 regular season games. Today, we get to the quarterbacks. Only one non-active player threw for 4,000 yards in his final 16 games. Three other players threw for 3900+ yards. That doesn’t include Dan […]

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Trivia: Most Rushing Yards in Final 16 Regular Season Games

August 1, 2014 History

I’m still short on time, so let’s keep the trivia train rolling.  Yesterday, I looked at the players with the most receiving yards in their last 16 regular season games. Today, the players with the most rushing yards in their last 16 games. Excluding LeSean McCoy, Adrian Peterson, and Doug Martin, only five players have […]

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Trivia: Most Receiving Yards in Final 16 Regular Season Games

July 31, 2014 History

I’m very short on time this week, so here’s a fun trivia question. Last week, I noted that Justin Blackmon gained 1,201 receiving yards in his last 16 games. As it turns out, if Blackmon never plays in another NFL game, that would set the record for most receiving yards in a player’s final sixteen […]

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Quarterback Losses Trivia

July 30, 2014 Quarterbacks

Can you name the two quarterbacks with the most losses in a single season? What about the quarterback with the most losses during his rookie year? Tweet

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Bill Walsh and Joe Montana Must Change to Succeed

July 29, 2014 History

The San Francisco Times September 23rd, 1981 I’m not here to tell you that Bill Walsh is a bad coach.  And I’m not here to tell you that Joe Montana can’t possibly succeed in the NFL. It’s just that if they want to still be here in two years, some changes are in order. Walsh […]

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The 2013 San Diego Offense Was Uniquely Efficient

July 28, 2014 Statistics

The Denver Broncos set numerous offensive records last year. The Chip Kelly Eagles had a fascinating offense that was lethal for stretches. The Saints offense was its usual efficient self, and the Chicago Bears under Marc Trestman had one of the best offensive years in franchise history. Yet all of those teams had at least […]

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James Lofton is the Yards Per Catch King

July 27, 2014 Receiving

Yesterday, we looked at which quarterbacks were the best at yards per completion after adjusting for league average. Today, we’ll do the same thing for wide receivers and yards per completion. A small tweak is necessary to the formula. You can skip down to the results section if you don’t care about the math, but […]

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Steve Grogan is the Yards Per Completion King

July 26, 2014 History

In 2013, the average completion went for 11.63 yards. That’s a pretty low number historically, although it’s actually a bit higher than some of the recent NFL seasons. Take a look at how Yards per Completion has generally been declining throughout NFL history: If you want to discuss the quarterbacks who excelled in this metric, […]

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2014 Football Outsiders Almanac

July 25, 2014 Announcements

If you’re reading this blog, chances are you already know all about our friends at Football Outsiders and the terrific analysis they provide every year. However, if by some chance you don’t know of them, or maybe you haven’t heard about their outstanding annual book, they now have copies of the 2014 Football Outsiders Almanac […]

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Quarterback Wins: Outlier Seasons

July 24, 2014 History

The 1998 season was one of my favorite years in NFL history. It was also a pretty weird one. We had Terrell Davis rushing for 2,000 yards, rookies Randy Moss and Fred Taylor making defenses look silly, and a quartet of old quarterbacks stun the football world. Doug Flutie came out of nowhere Canada to […]

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Thoughts on Running Back Yards per Carry

July 23, 2014 Rushing

Regular readers know that I’m skeptical of using “yards per carry” to evaluate running backs. That’s because YPC is not very consistent from year to year. But it’s also not consistent even within the same year. For example, In 2013, Giovani Bernard rushed 92 times for 291 yards in even-numbered games last year, producing a […]

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