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 Post subject: Moneyball in the NFL
PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 12:36 pm 
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Interesting article on the moneyball teams in the nfl.

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The problem plaguing these roster-purging teams is not "analytics." Analytics are a data-driven process for making decisions, not a set of commandments, though some analytical precepts (don't overpay a bunch of 33-year olds) are theories in the way evolution is a theory. Analytics are tools, and like any tools, they can be used by experts to build palaces or used by the Three Stooges to bonk each other on the head.

The "Moneyball" pervading the NFL's bottom-feeders now is the elevator-pitch, recipe-on-the-side-of-the-box, watered-down cousin of analytics. According to this new Extreme Moneyball, veterans are worthless once they might have passed their prime; the only thing more valuable than cap space is a future draft pick; and the only transaction smarter than trading veterans for draft picks is trading draft picks for even more draft picks.

For Extreme Moneyballers, rebuilding seasons come in three- to indefinite-year bunches, and a competitive 8-8 season is just a missed opportunity to go 1-15 more cheaply and come away with higher draft picks.


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The analytics that are supposed to drive Moneyball involve exploiting market inefficiencies. DePodesta and his peers brilliantly gobbled up undervalued baseball players while other teams spent millions on aging sluggers and prospects with "tools."

When three or more teams are shopping quality veterans in exchange for draft picks, however, the market inefficiency swings the other way. That allows contenders like the Seahawks and Steelers (teams which use analytics as a scalpel, not a sledgehammer) to bargain-hunt while a bunch of teams try to out-stink each other in search of whichever college quarterback led the latest late-night comeback
.

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Browns, Bills and Jets fans have suffered for so long that extreme Moneyball feels like hope for them. They get to cheer for trades instead of wins and root for USC and UCLA on Saturdays while their teams stumble through Sundays. Waiting until next year with extra draft picks is better than just waiting until next year, which is what these fans have been stuck doing for years. Right?

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 Post subject: Re: Moneyball in the NFL
PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 5:55 am 
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There is a lot of teams that in my opinion are taken in by this Moneyball approach and I see all of these teams not really doing much with the draft picks that they accumulate.

This is why I posted my idea of trying to put the non exclusive franchise tag on Bell next season and try and get two first round picks for him because it really isn't that far fetched with the way teams view draft picks in a different light now. The rules have really gone out the window, there is no book to go by, no manual in regards to the draft, draft picks, players, etc.

One of these new Moneyball teams may think it is worth to sign Bell, give up two first round picks and not blink an eye. They may figure the bust rate of first round picks is high anyway, and the money spent on those two first round draft picks is better served to subsidize the money you would spend on Bell's contract. Two first rounders could be $25-30 million and if Bell's contract is $75 million then well there you go, you got Bell for $45-50 million essentially.

This is the way some of these teams think now. You look at how the Houston Texans gave up a 2nd and 6th round pick to trade Brock Osweiler to Cleveland in exchange for a 4th round pick. Cleveland had no interest in Osweiler, but wanted the 2nd round pick and was willing to eat that $16 million he was owed for 2017. They cut him and were probably hoping that some team would sign him and give them some relief on that $16 million but the Broncos signed him to the league minimum ($775,000) so the Browns are still on the hook for some $15.2 million. This is an example of this lame 'Moneyball' at its finest.

So, when I see that happen, it makes me think that getting two first round picks for Bell is not that impossible.

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 Post subject: Re: Moneyball in the NFL
PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 9:40 am 
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I myself of course, am kind of sick of the "play for the future", 1-15 is better than 9-7 and getting to the wild card game. Like as a Pirates fan, I'd rather never trade Cutch. Why? Two years from now they'll probably still be losing and have nobody as good as Cutch? Look at the Sixers, they suck every year and get the #1 NBA draft pick 5 straight years, and still go 20-62 every year! Moneyball has ruined how baseball is played! It took the risk taking out, no base stealing for instance! And everyone plays for a walk, swinging the bat is a risk! This whole concept of playing safe at every instant is ruining sports.


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 Post subject: Re: Moneyball in the NFL
PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 7:18 pm 
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I'd argue the Browns have been GREAT at the Moneyball game.....drafting, not so much. Jimmy Johnson built that Cowboys dynasty in much the same way....but he got the drafting really right, too.

The Steelers don't do anything real exciting, and I'm shocked to see them mentioned in an article about analytics. PIT drafts well, and grabs the occasional undervalued vet. And they're a combination of vanilla and risk-averse in how they manage the cap.

It might not even be that complicated. In the Cowher years, PIT was carried by its 3-4 and drafting the defensive types most teams weren't interested in. Then Ben Roethlisberger fell in their lap and he's carried them since. I see nothing that gets me excited or gives me confidence in the Ben-less future.

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 Post subject: Re: Moneyball in the NFL
PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 6:45 pm 
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Nick79 wrote:
Moneyball has ruined how baseball is played! It took the risk taking out, no base stealing for instance! And everyone plays for a walk, swinging the bat is a risk! This whole concept of playing safe at every instant is ruining sports.


Playing it safe isn't what Moneyball is all about though. Actually don't think it has anything to do with "risk" at all.

It's about replacing the production of one over the course of a season with the collective efforts of lesser & cheaper players.

You can only steal bases if you have burners that are capable of doing so. It's only smart to have hitters swing away if you have capable hitters.

Moneyball was about replacing the production of a guy like Jason Giambi with several other parts knowing the one guy actually replacing him isn't of the same caliber.

Beane & Depodesta concluded that on base % was more important than slugging % in terms of what actually leads to runs scored. So over the course of a season the metrics said you get more bang for your buck if you can work counts, draw walks, and hope it all comes together when the career .240 hitter with 10-15 homer power hits a 3 run homer.

Avoiding risk is not the intent behind the strategy. It was about trying to maximize production (runs) with cheaper players that had some holes in their game. Going deep into an at-bat, taking pitches, and waiting for a pitcher to make a mistake helped lead to runs. Or so the stats said.

It also wasn't a strategy utlized by choice. It was done as a result of cheap owners not wanting to spend the money. It was a way to compete at a lower cost.


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 Post subject: Re: Moneyball in the NFL
PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 8:34 pm 
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In this NFL, it comes down to one thing..... QB or no QB. I am not saying that's a good thing either but it's a QB league.


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 Post subject: Re: Moneyball in the NFL
PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 7:41 am 
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I think the analytics do not match well to football yet. Too many moving pieces on every play. That being said, I think it is a stinker for the fans when teams tank like the Jets, Bills and Browns. As the article said , the fans are cheering losing and trading away players for draft picks. Picks that have a habit of not panning out due to injury or lack of mental capacity or toughness. Things that analytics will not show.

It is worst than the old Paul/Mike Brown Bengals. 8-8 was all they wanted. Not enough wins that they would have to play their players much but not too many loses that drive the fans away. The Browns are lucky they have a stupidly loyal fan base. This is a lot like the Cubs in Chicago pre Epstein. Why try if you know you will have a sell out every week.

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 Post subject: Re: Moneyball in the NFL
PostPosted: Sat Sep 09, 2017 11:05 pm 
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jebrick wrote:
I think the analytics do not match well to football yet.


And I think you have some coaches/GM's still living in the 80's. The ability is definitely there - give me 1 grunt, 11 football junkies and 3 PhD quants and I will give you a true DVOA for every player in the NFL. Double that number and I'll give you a true DVOA for every D1 college player - give me 2 more quants and your draft board will be drastically different and dramatically better.

So a $5M budget and I'll blow the doors off any draftnik this side of Mars. The much, much bigger problem is coaches have certain player types they like for their schemes, certain player types that they coach well. Your better teams have coaches who can coach, and GM's who understand the type of player, and the ability to find those players, that those coaches succeed with. I can give you a high-confidence ranking of the best OT's in the draft, but if they aren't a match for the system or coaching-up strengths it won't work.

Yes, I'm saying I firmly believe this all can be reduced to something akin to test scores and grades. Sure, Harvard isn't perfect but there's no question they're pretty on-the-money for the cream of the crop (excluding legacies). Once you've ranked people into deciles/quartiles, THEN talent scouts can make the adjustments for system and other factors raw data can't account for.

Agree it's not like baseball, which is really much more of an individual sport so the analytics are cleaner/truer. But that's not why the analytics "don't match well". It's because most teams, save probably NE (who also cheats), don't invest and don't buy-in.

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