Chiefs’ DVOA Analysis, Week 7

Double Take

It has been quite a while since I last posted on any kind of a regular basis here at AA so I am sure most of you are probably unfamiliar, aside from my occasional appearances in the comments section perhaps, with my style of writing. I guess if I were to sum it up in a single word, something along the lines of “merciless” is the one I would choose. Buckle up (Kidding. Sort of). Anyway, it is good to be back with a new weekly offering based on Football Outsider’s DVOA ranking system. I hope everyone finds this new entry to be as informative, interesting and comment-worthy as me . . . or at least as informative, interesting, and comment-worthy as I do. Sorry, couldn’t resist the DOUBLE ENTENDRE.

For those of you unfamiliar with the DVOA ranking methodology, a brief 411 will be provided. If you are interested in a more detailed (and perhaps more useful) explanation, simply go here. For what it’s worth, Football Outsider’s DVOA system projected the Chiefs to win their division this year – all before the start of the regular season mind you. Intrigued?

DVOA stands for “Defense-adjusted Value Over Average.” Huh? Well, what that basically means is that a team’s offense (as well as its sub-units and key positions) is compared to an imaginary, statistically average offense through play-by-play analysis, situationally, continuously and cumulatively during the season.  I’ll bet that explanation didn’t help much either did it? Well, if you actually followed all that, then you should have picked up on the term “situationally” because that’s really what this all about and yes it does take into consideration the DVOA quality of your opponent for each given situation.

For example, suppose it is 3rd and 10, Dwayne Bowe catches a 9 yard pass, runs 60 yards after the catch until being forced out at the 1 yard line. Suppose on the next play that Thomas Jones carries the ball in for the score.  Which of those two situations (or, if you like, those two players in their respective situations) was statistically more significant?  By an overwhelming margin, the answer is Dwayne Bowe’s catch and run. Thomas Jones scoring a TD from the 1 yard line has a very high probability of success; Dwayne Bowe’s 70 yard catch and run is anything but a statistical certainty. Bear in mind, I’m vastly oversimplifying the methodology employed here, but nevertheless hope it gives you a sense of, and respect for, how all this works. The DVOA methodology is not some supposed expert’s <i>opinion</i> of how good/bad a team is, it’s a thorough statistical analysis of how good/bad a team is.

One last thing, the mythical “average” team scores 0% at everything. The more positive the DVOA number on offense, the better the offense. Conversely, the more negative the DVOA number on defense, the better the defense.  Why the difference? Put crudely, DVOA analysis is an indication of offensive scoring efficiency and thus more scoring is good if you’re an offense while less scoring, or, better yet, taking away points (negative scoring) is good if you’re a defense. Got it?  Too bad if you don’t, because I’m not planning on repeating any of this from here on out. Now onto the Chiefs Week 7 rankings.

Category Wk 7 DVOA % Wk 7 Ranking Wk 6 DVOA% Wk 6 Ranking

Total DVOA                         26.2%                          4                              20.2%                                    7

Offense DVOA                      17.6%                        5                              11.6%                                    10

Defense DVOA                 -4.4%                             9                              -3.1%                                     12

Spcl Teams DVOA            4.1%                             9                              5.4%                                      7

QB-Matt Cassell                13.4%                           17                           6.3%                                      21

RB-Jamaal Charles           26.8%                          1                              26.5%                                    2

RB-Thomas Jones            7.2%                            17                           7.8%                                      13

TE-Tony Moeaki              19.2%                           12                           13.2%                                    16

WR-Dwayne Bowe          15.7%                            22                           10.7%                                    25

82 WR’s ranked

Additional Stats of Interest:

Category Wk 7 Ranking Wk 6 Ranking

Offensive Line

Run Blocking                                     4                              4

Pass Blocking                                    2                              1

Defensive Line

Run Blocking                                   13                           17

Pass Blocking                                  23                           19

Matt Cassel (DYAR)*                  18                           22

Jamaal Charles (DYAR)            5                              6

Thomas Jones (DYAR)             12                           13

Tony Moeaki (DYAR)                12                           19

Dwayne Bowe (DYAR)              29                           30

Remaining Schedule**            31                           31

Playoff Odds                                 1 (93.8%)             4 (85.8%)

Conference Winner                    3 (16.2%)             4 (11.9%)

Super Bowl Winner                   5 (8.1%)                8 (5.6%)

Mean Wins (Projected):           11                           10.6

*For an explanation of DYAR, click here.

**1 is considered the hardest, 32 is considered the easiest.

So, what are some of the things I take away from this week’s rankings? For one thing, there is “statistical” improvement over Week 6’s numbers in just about every category.

For another thing, I think it is worth nothing that the Chiefs began the season rank 16th in Total DVOA. We are now ranked 4th. What that tells me is that after 6 games, we can say with a pretty high level of confidence that, relative to this season’s imaginary average team, the Chiefs are getting better (i.e., on a upward trend) as the season progresses. As long as we can sustain that, that is very encouraging statistic.

On the negative side, we are really bad and thin in the receiving department. We only have one ranked WR out of 82 and the receiver that is ranked is not ranked very high. Most teams have at least 2 or 3 ranked receivers.  If the Chiefs are to continue their progress, they desperately to need to find another set or two of hands downfield. If not, WR seems the obvious choice for top need in the off-season. Also, our pass rush is below average and appears to be slipping.

Last point, we are now the team most likely to make the playoffs.

That’s my Double Take. What are your takes, Addicts?

Tags: Kansas City Chiefs Matt Cassel Todd Haley