Saturday, November 29

Stat Boy Saturday: How Much Does Winter Weather Really Decrease Offense?

Another week with our honorary stat boy, Zach Fein of Fein Sports. A contributor with as much stat muscle as anyone in the business. You may not understand what he's says and use it for your fantasy leagues, but if you're in the mood to be baffled and confused, then boy does he have you covered. Because life is one big spreadsheet. This week he looks at whether the winter weather (alliteration!) really hurts offenses, or if it's just a myth. You remember this game. You know, the one where Tom Brady and Randy Moss killed their owners after lifting them through many an undefeated regular season? Or this one? The one where waiver wire hero Derek Anderson put up a stinker in a blizzard? I owned both of them last year. Anderson's terrible performance knocked me out of one league. As for Brady ... well, let's say I didn't even make the playoffs with him. And Frank Gore. And Wes Welker. And Ryan Grant. Uh, but I did get stuck with Lee Evans and Donald Driver. (I had the fourth-most points scored but finished in eighth place. Head-to-head will do that to you.) Back on topic. It's no surprise that Lambeau Field often has two or three snow games per year, as does Gilette Stadium in Foxborough. And because the Georgia Dome is, um, a dome, it should yield higher scores than usual. But the key word is "should." The question is, does the Georgia Dome really increase scoring, and does Lambeau Field and other cold-weather stadia lower scoring and other measurements of offense? I ripped off of MLB's Park Factors, which in its simplest form is equal to home runs per game (by both teams) divided by road runs per game (by both teams). So if the Louisville Sluggers score four runs per game and give up five at home, but score five and give up five on the road, their park factor would be equal to .9 (nine divided by ten). I used a more complex method, which is described in the "How I Calculate PF" section here. I did this for points scored, passing yards, and rushing yards, using week-by-week data for all December games since 2003. Conventional wisdom says that the cold weather should lower passing but increase rushing (due to the fact that both teams wouldn't be able to pass). Is that true? Here's the data.
NFL Stadium Factors
Team Stadium Point Pass Rush
Baltimore Ravens M&T Bank Stadium 1.20 1.04 1.09
Houston Texans Reliant Stadium 1.14 1.13 1.01
Minnesota Vikings H.H.H. Metrodome 1.10 1.06 1.04
Atlanta Falcons Georgia Dome 1.10 0.94 0.88
St. Louis Rams Edward Jones Dome 1.06 1.14 1.32
Miami Dolphins Dolphin Stadium 1.06 1.18 1.15
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Raymond James Stadium 1.05 0.89 1.07
San Diego Chargers Qualcomm Stadium 1.05 1.07 1.07
Philadelphia Eagles Lincoln Financial Field 1.04 1.07 1.07
Seattle Seahawks Candlestick Park 1.01 0.90 0.91
New York Jets/Giants Giants Stadium/Meadowlands 1.01 0.94 0.99
Pittsburgh Steelers Heinz Field 1.00 0.99 1.03
Indianapolis Colts RCA Dome/Lucas Oil Stadium 1.00 1.09 1.01
Washington Redskins FedExField 1.00 1.04 1.07
Oakland Raiders Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum 1.00 1.16 1.00
Buffalo Bills Ralph Wilson Stadium 0.99 0.86 1.02
Detroit Lions Ford Field 0.99 0.99 0.91
Dallas Cowboys Texas Stadium 0.99 0.98 0.84
San Francisco 49ers Qwest Field 0.99 1.02 0.85
Arizona Cardinals University of Phoenix Stadium 0.99 0.98 0.96
Chicago Bears Soldier Field 0.98 1.00 1.16
Tennessee Titans LP Field 0.97 1.05 1.20
Kansas City Chiefs Arrowhead Stadium 0.97 0.94 0.89
Denver Broncos Invesco Field (Mile High) 0.96 0.98 0.94
Cincinnati Bengals Paul Brown Stadium 0.95 0.91 0.96
New Orleans Saints Louisiana Superdome 0.94 1.06 1.08
Cleveland Browns Cleveland Browns Stadium 0.93 0.90 0.89
Jacksonville Jaguars Jacksonville Municipal Stadium 0.93 0.96 1.00
Green Bay Packers Lambeau Field 0.90 0.88 1.04
New England Patriots Gillette Stadium 0.90 1.02 1.04
Carolina Panthers Bank of America Stadium 0.89 0.98 0.89
Methodology note: Two teams, the Cardinals and Colts, moved into new stadia during five-year sample used. I discarded this fact, because I was more trying to see if the weather, not the stadium, had an effect. The Browns, Packers, and Patriots are all near the bottom of the points factor, as they should be. But the Panthers last in the league? Surely this had to be a result of an abnormally-high road point scoring trend, right? I realized that with the low sample size (only 24 games worth for all teams, but 52 for the Giants/Jets), there must be a bias in the data. To fix this I switched the road points/passing yards/rushing yards per game with the leave averages over this time, which was 42 points, 409 passing yards, and 245 rushing yards. Here are the adjusted factors.
NFL Adjusted Stadium Factors
Team Stadium Point Pass Rush
Atlanta Falcons Georgia Dome 1.07 0.99 1.05
Seattle Seahawks Qwest Field 1.05 1.00 1.02
Minnesota Vikings H.H.H. Metrodome 1.05 1.05 0.97
Tennessee Titans LP Field 1.05 1.03 1.00
Kansas City Chiefs Arrowhead Stadium 1.04 1.04 1.01
St. Louis Rams Edward Jones Dome 1.04 1.03 1.03
Indianapolis Colts RCA Dome/Lucas Oil Stadium 1.04 1.08 0.96
Baltimore Ravens M&T Bank Stadium 1.03 0.99 0.97
Arizona Cardinals University of Phoenix Stadium 1.03 1.03 0.91
Houston Texans Reliant Stadium 1.02 0.98 1.01
San Diego Chargers Qualcomm Stadium 1.02 1.00 1.01
Philadelphia Eagles Lincoln Financial Field 1.02 1.02 0.98
Detroit Lions Ford Field 1.02 1.04 0.95
Miami Dolphins Dolphin Stadium 1.01 1.02 0.96
Cincinnati Bengals Paul Brown Stadium 1.01 0.98 1.01
Denver Broncos Invesco Field (Mile High) 1.00 1.00 1.04
Buffalo Bills Ralph Wilson Stadium 1.00 0.88 1.04
San Francisco 49ers Candlestick Park 0.99 1.02 0.95
New York Jets/Giants Giants Stadium/Meadowlands 0.99 0.94 1.01
Dallas Cowboys Texas Stadium 0.99 1.05 0.94
Oakland Raiders Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum 0.98 1.01 0.96
Pittsburgh Steelers Heinz Field 0.98 0.98 1.01
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Raymond James Stadium 0.97 0.92 1.02
Washington Redskins FedExField 0.97 0.97 0.99
Jacksonville Jaguars Jacksonville Municipal Stadium 0.96 0.96 1.02
New Orleans Saints Louisiana Superdome 0.96 1.02 0.94
Chicago Bears Soldier Field 0.96 0.98 0.98
Green Bay Packers Lambeau Field 0.96 0.94 1.00
New England Patriots Gillette Stadium 0.94 0.99 0.93
Carolina Panthers Bank of America Stadium 0.92 0.98 0.93
Cleveland Browns Cleveland Browns Stadium 0.90 0.92 1.06
What do you know, the Panthers are still at the bottom of the list. I would call that an aberration
1. Four of the bottom five teams are all in snowy, cold-weather portions of the U.S. Four of the top seven teams are all in domes. See a trend? Yes, the wintry weather does affect offenses, especially in the selected cold-weather stadia. If you have Braylon Edwards, don't be afraid to bench him for someone such as Anthony Gonzalez during the fantasy playoffs. When Aaron Rodgers and Matt Forte put up sub-par games when the Packers and Bears face each other in Week 16, don't say I didn't warn you. ____ 1I update a list of these stadium factors weekly on my Web site, using data from 2005 through the current week. The latest edition has the Panthers exactly average in the points factor. We would never shoot ourselves in the leg.
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Friday, November 28

Week 13 Name Calling

Name Calling is our almost-weekly feature where we help you figure out which name to call for that flex position, #3 wideout spot, or any other lineup conundrum you may be faced with. Our goal is to help you decide on borderline starters by revealing who will hit pay dirt and who will implode. None of this "start Peyton Manning" or "sit Derek Hagan" nonsense. No loving, hating, flaming, or video gaming either. Just a bit of name calling is all. Ahh yes, Thanksgiving. A great time of the year. Except for football, especially this year. Could we please have at least one competitive game? All three games, blowouts, though I wouldn't expect anything less from the Lions; they're part of the holiday tradition—turkey, stuffing, and the Lions getting creamed. Shame on you Arizona. You were the best shot to give us a good game. But no, you failed. Can't you see that I'm trying to win one million dollars? Ranting aside, I hope everyone had a safe and happy Thanksgiving. Who You Gonna Call Matt Ryan/QB Atlanta: After two straight weeks of touchdown-less football, you know Matty Ice is itching to get back on the proverbial horse. And what better time to do so than against the Chargers, who rank last in the league in pass defense? Ryan has had at least 248 yards in four of his last five weeks; a couple of touchdowns this week would make him fantasy gold for owners. Lance Moore/WR New Orleans: Talk about riding a hot streak. Moore, a big piece in the Saints' offensive puzzle, has had nearly 300 receiving yards and four touchdowns his past three games. You do the math. Drew Brees lit up the the Bucs in Week One, throwing for 343 yards and a couple of scores; he's a good bet to do so again. Ted Ginn Jr./WR Miami: Not too often I suggest starting him. But I'm going against the grain this time. With Greg Camarillo done for the year due to a sprained knee, Ginn is the Dolphins most viable threat at wide receiver. Couple that with a weak Rams' pass defense and Chad Pennington coming off of a big performance last week against rival New England, Ginn could be huge. Side note: Anthony Fasano is also starter-worthy this week. On Speed Dial (Names you should always, always call, using discretion of course. I don't want idiots saying I told them to start some dude over LDT): RBs against Detroit and Kansas City, WRs against Miami and Seattle, QBs against Detroit and San Diego. Who You Not Gonna Call Willie Parker/RB Pittsburgh: I managed to put my Steelers bias aside, for this week anyway. I simply don't trust the Steelers running game. Parker couldn't do anything last week against a Bengals defense that got even worse as the game went on (they lost two DE's, Robert Geathers and Frosty Rucker), and I can't see a reverse in that trend against a Patriots defense that gave up just 3.5 YPC to Thomas Jones two weeks ago and a mere 37 yards to Ronnie Brown last week. Nose tackle Vince Wilfork will be licking his chops just as I'm sure he did around the Thanksgiving table. Not On Speed Dial (Names you should always, always caller ID check and ignore, once again using discretion of course. I don't want idiots saying I told them to bench Drew Brees): RBs against the Ravens, Oakland WRs, QBs against Indianapolis
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Wednesday, November 26

An Update On Our Dear Friend Gage Arnold

Wondering what that one random guy who posts like every other solar eclipse has been up to? This just popped up on his myspace:
Gage is going to see twilight Mood: joyus
Apparently our blog buddy is so caught up with a teenage girl fad that he can't even spell words correctly. Or give a few minutes a week to post and hand out some HAIRY's awards. Because he's too caught up with this. Bench that poor heart.
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SJax, Reggie Bush: Will they play?

Steven Jackson: Jackson returned to practice Wednesday and should be good to go on Sunday against the Dolphins. On Monday coach Jim Haslett said of Jackson that he was "optimistic" Jackson would return. In his six games before he was injured against the Cardinals, Jackson had a per-game line of 24 touches, 128 total yards and 16.8 fantasy points. In Weeks Four through Seven, he averaged 158 yards, 23.8 fantasy points and had four touchdowns in those three games. Start him with confidence. Reggie Bush: After missing the past four games due to a left knee injury, Bush feels he can return this week, saying, "I definitely feel like this is the week." The Times-Picayune reported that his workload in practice has increased each of the past two week. In his first six games, before he was injured in the Carolina game, Bush was averaging a solid 20 touches for 100 yards and a score, along with 15 fantasy points per game. That said, Bush isn't a great start this week due to his matchup against the Buccaneers, who give up just 11.5 fantasy points to opposing running backs. He's a low-end No. 2 back and a good flex play this week. We think it's just a coincidence that two quarterbacks named "Brady" are out for the year.
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Monday, November 24

Weekend Recap: Week 12

I hate irrelevancy. Call it a pet peeve of mine. The unimportant, insignificant, and unnecessary. But enough about the Lions' offense. There was one thing I thought was truly irrelevant: North Dakota (no offense North Dakotans, all five of you). Seriously, what have they ever done? Heck, at least South Dakota gave us Mount Rushmore. I still argue that the only reason we bought that land was so that the border between Canada and the United States went straight across. "Was" is the operative word in that past sentence though. All that changed when I saw this box score. Yes, North Dakota defeated its arch rival South Dakota 34-31 in OT last Saturday. Nothing better than a little extra Saturday Dakota rivalry. I don't want to stray to far from the main point of this, irrelevancy. We at this humble blog don't give you the fat and grisle. We give you the meat. That's no different this week. - Chalk it up to inexperience. Brady Quinn was pretty awful against Houston, but hey, it's bound to happen. I don't agree with the benching of him (that's another can of worms), but he will remain the starter in Cleveland. - Ditto with Donovan McNabb, sans the inexperience excuse. Chalk his poor performance up to a really good Ravens defense. - Who would've thought the Chiefs/Bills game would be the highest scoring game of the week? Tony Gonzalez is surely glad to see the jump start to Kansas City's O. He's had 25 catches and three touchdowns the past three games. And being the most dependable target, you can bet he'll keep up a similar production the rest of the year. - Matt Cassel has been phenomenal as of late, throwing for another 400-yard game. He's matured really quickly and has made excellent decisions. Years sitting behind Tom Brady and being coached by "Hoodie" will do that to a player. You can be sure Cassel's wallet will thank them both of them in the offseason. - Jacksonville hasn't been able to get a consistent running game going all season. To sum it all up, look at Maurice Jones-Drew's rushing totals from Sunday. Three carries for four yards. Major risk and at this point, little reward. - The Colts' offense is finally banging on all cylinders. Big boosts to Marvin Harrison and Anthony Gonzalez. - If Clinton Portis can rush for nearly 150 yards hurt, I can't wait to see what he can again do when healthy. [I apologize for not putting up a Name Calling article on Friday. I was giving Tom Cruise acting lessons.] Al Roker is our hero.
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McNabb to Start Thursday

After being benched for Kevin Kolb at halftime after turning the ball over three times on Sunday, Eagles' quarterback Donovan McNabb will keep his starting job for next week. So have no fear; confidently start Donovan. Andy Reid knows that he'll bounce back and that good times are coming! Says the head coach: "Sometimes you have to step back to step forward in a positive way and Donovan will do that." McNabb owners really shouldn't be too worried at all. There's a very simple solution, as Reid explains. "I need to coach better. Donovan needs to play better and the guys around Donovan need to play better." If you think that all that is possible for the 5-5-1 Philadelphia squad, then keep DMac in your starting line up. And for the rest of the year? Well, McNabb's starting role seems secure. After being questioned about how the position will look for the rest of the season, Reid consulted with Terrell Owens and answered, "As I sit here right now, he's my quarterback," Reid said. "I'm telling you he's the starting quarterback. If I thought different, then I'd start the other guy." Well thanks for clearing that up Andy. We'll always be lovin' you the way we wanted too.
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