Kansas City Chiefs’ DVOA Analysis, Week 4


After much anticipation and anxious clamoring, I return this week with my regular season mainstay. That’s right, Double D’s Double Take on just how well, or poorly, the Chiefs are performing in key areas, courtesy of Football Outsider’s DVOA analysis.

For those of you unfamiliar with the DVOA ranking methodology, I’ll simply provide, after the jump, the same rundown that I gave last year. If you are interested in a more detailed (and perhaps more useful) explanation, go here.

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 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 opinion 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 4 rankings.

Not a whole lot to be cheery about here. The bright side, if there is any, is that we moved up 5 slots on Total Defense and 11 slots on Special Teams, where last week we were ranked 27th and 29th respectively. Personally, I’ll take any sign of progress I can get at this point. In case you were wondering, both McCluster and Battle have yet to get enough carries to be ranked as RBs, statistically speaking. In the case of Battle, with any luck, we will hopefully see that change in the near future.

To better understand what DYAR represents, you can go here for the 411. Bottom line, not much going on here to get particularly excited about either.

Additional noteworthy points of interest . . . the Chiefs OL is currently the most efficient in the NFL when we attack the left B gap or run outside the LT. Major props to Branden Albert for that. Conversely, our OL ranks 31st whenever we try to run between the guards. Looking at you, Casey Wiegmann.

That about wraps it up for today. Clearly, there’s plenty of room left for improvement on nearly every front. From here on out, win or lose, I’ll use this weekly feature to make some sort of assessment on whether or not the Chiefs are becoming a better team as the season unfolds.

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