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It’s Christmas in January. Once the 2012 All-Pro teams were announced (my thoughts here), my buddies Mike Kania and Neil Paine worked through the weekend to provide us with Approximate Values for every player in the NFL this year. For the uninitiated, you can review how AV is calculated here. And if you’re so inclined, give a thanks to Neil or Mike or PFR on twitter.

Here’s a list of the top 100 players. AV is also listed for each player on each team’s roster page on PFR (for Dallas, it’s Tony Romo). You can use the PFR player finder for all sorts of AV-related fun, too. For example, you could see the player with the most AV on your favorite team (for the Jets, it’s Antonio Cromartie), or by position (among inside linebackers, it’s Patrick Willis), or by age (among those 35 or older, it’s Tom Brady, or Tony Gonzalez for non-quarterbacks), or by draft status (Wes Welker had the highest AV in 2012 among undrafted players).

Here’s a list of the top 20 players by AV.

1Tom Brady35NWE1618
2Robert Griffin III22WAS1518
3Adrian Peterson27MIN1618
4Matt Ryan27ATL1618
5Aaron Rodgers29GNB1617
6Cam Newton23CAR1616
7Russell Wilson24SEA1616
8Drew Brees33NOR1615
9Marshawn Lynch26SEA1615
10Eli Manning31NYG1615
11Peyton Manning36DEN1615
12Alfred Morris24WAS1615
13Julius Peppers32CHI1615
14J.J. Watt23HOU1615
15Wes Welker31NWE1615
16Andre Johnson31HOU1614
17Calvin Johnson27DET1614
18Doug Martin23TAM1614
19Tony Romo32DAL1614
20Roddy White31ATL1614
  • Richie

    I love the concept of AV.

    I understand why Pro Bowl and All Pro are used. I just wish there was a way to reduce their value in some way. Last week I was comparing Ray Lewis and London Fletcher. Obviously, defensive player stats don’t tell us a ton. But Fletcher and Lewis aren’t THAT different statistically. I would agree that Lewis was more dominant in his prime.

    But I think that Lewis was destined to have a higher profile for the purpose of awards, because:
    – he was a first round pick (Fletcher was undrafted)
    – he went to Miami (Fletcher went to John Carroll)
    – he dances and self-promotes (Fletcher does not)
    – he played for high-profile defenses (Fletcher mostly played for bad/anonymous defenses – though he did play in 2 Super Bowls with the Rams)

    Lewis is always going to be perceived as the better player by voters, because he had a “head start”.

    • Chase Stuart

      I would agree that Lewis had a “head start” on Fletcher. I think it’s just really hard to judge defensive players. Remember that old post where Sean Lahman ranked Butkus as the 50th best linebacker ever? He caught a lot of heat for that, which is what happens when you try to objectively rank linebackers.

      • Richie

        Yes, I do recall that.

        I think I forgot to make a complete point above. Lewis and Fletcher have each started about the same number of games (though Fletcher has more non-starts, and missed fewer games due to injury). Lewis has 222 career AV (158 weighted) while Fletcher has 128/87. That rates Lewis as being nearly twice as “valuable” as Fletcher over their careers. I just don’t think that’s accurate. Yes, Lewis was better. Not sure he was twice as better, though.

  • Sunrise089

    Thanks for the post Chase, but I’ll hold my twitter thanks to PFR until after they relaunch the PFR blog.

    • Richie


      This blog is basically the same as PFR Blog, so I’m good. I’d just like to see an occasional appearance by Doug and some NEW PODCASTS!

  • Chris Povirk
    • Chase Stuart

      Thanks, Chris. Fixed.

  • Danish

    I have a cursory understanding of AV, and have read the original posts. I usually think it’s silly to nitpick individual outputs from a model, but I simply don’t understand how Eli can have recieve the same score as Peyton. Peytons offense was better, his individual stats were better and he even got voted All-Pro.

    I’m not saying the model is bad, I simply don’t get the arithmetics of it.

    • Chase Stuart

      I appreciate the tone of the question, Danish. And you’re right, that does seem buggy. I pinged Mike and Neil.

    • Neil

      All-Pros and Pro Bowls have no bearing on AV for skill position players (to my surprise, after looking at the AV guide: http://www.pro-football-reference.com/blog/?page_id=8061).

      NYG also had a slightly more efficient offense than Denver according to Doug’s points/possession metric, so basically both brothers are working with the same % of passing points for equal offenses. Also, both were above-avg by AYPA, so it’s not like Peyton is getting a huge bonus for efficiency compared to Eli.

      If we take it out to a crazy # of digits, Eli is 14.7917780406158 and Peyton is 15.0614354890592 — rounding, you get 15 for each.

      • Danish

        I was absolutely positive PB and AP were factored in. Maybe they should?

        Regardless, thanks for looking into it guys!

        • Richie

          Interesting, I thought so as well. I understand that the main reason PB and AP are used for defensive players (and offensive linemen) is that there just aren’t many other objective ways to rate them.

          But part of the point of AV is to be able to compare players across positions. It seems like if a defensive player is going to get a huge bump for an AP nod, that the offensive player should get something as well. Admittedly, I haven’t given this 1% as much consideration as Doug did when he created the metric.