FanPost

Dolphins Outlier Stats And QB Ratings

Outlier Stats

At heart, I am a math geek, always have been. That's why I chose to become an engineer because I enjoy math and like designing things, building things. Now, I am in technical sales, where I come up with a plan, a design, and let others do the math that makes it work. But at heart, I am a math guy.

Statistics have always been a passion, especially sports statistics. (this is probably one of the reasons why I like fantasy sports so much.) I was a fan of Bill James before being a fan of Bill James became cool. But I also realize that in sports, especially football, statistics can be misleading.

I had to take a Statistics Course in school to become an engineer. One of the aspects of the class was identifying Outlier Stats in a small sample size. An Outlier Stat is a data point (or two) that greatly affects the average, one way or another, in a small sample size. (for a definition of an Outlier go here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outlier) What makes football statistics unique in sports is it small sample size, only 16 games compared to 162 games in MLB or 82 games in the NBA and NHL. So one really good game, or one really bad game has a tremendous effect on stats in the NFL, while that same really good game or really bad game has very little effect on stats in the MLB, NBA, or NHL.

With that being said, I like to look at stats in football and eliminate the Outliers and see what happens. There are a bunch of different ways to identify Outliers, I choose to do a simple one, eliminating the top and bottom statistic in each data field. I did this for Tannehill (leading passer), Bush (leading rusher), and Hartline (leading receiver) this year for Miami. Here is a Game by Game breakdown of their stats to see if there were any Outliers:

2012 REGULAR SEASON OUTLIER STATS

TANNEHILL

BUSH

HARTLINE

TEAM

TEAM

GAME

W/L

OPPONENT

QB Rate

Pass Yds

Rush Yds

Rec Yds

Scoring

Pts Allow

1

L

TEXANS

39.0

219

69

50

10

30

2

W

RAIDERS

91.0

200

172

111

35

13

3

L

JETS

50.2

196

61

41

20

23

4

L

CARDINALS

86.5

431

67

253

21

24

5

W

BENGALS

92.3

223

48

50

17

13

6

W

RAMS

112.0

185

17

0

17

14

7

W

JETS

Injured

Injured

59

41

30

9

8

L

COLTS

90.9

290

41

107

20

23

9

L

TITANS

42.4

217

21

79

3

37

10

L

BILLS

46.9

141

20

49

14

19

11

W

SEAHAWKS

97.1

253

87

17

24

21

12

L

PATRIOTS

66.2

186

64

84

16

23

13

L

49ERS

74.0

150

65

34

13

27

14

W

JAGUARS

123.2

220

104

77

24

3

15

W

BILLS

93.8

130

65

12

24

10

16

L

PATRIOTS

65.8

235

26

69

0

28

Season Totals

3,276

986

1,074

288

317

Season Avg.

78.1

218.4

61.6

67.1

18.0

19.8

2 Game Outlier Totals

2,715

797

821

253

277

2 Game Outlier Avg.

77.6

208.8

56.9

58.6

18.1

19.8

You can see the Season Averages for all 16 Games and you can also see the Averages of a 14 Game Season by eliminating the High and Low Stat. As you can see, individually, Tannehill, Bush, and Hartline all performed worse than their season average when removing the High and Low Outlier. This is a consistent trend with most players in the NFL. For example, doing the same thing for Adrian Peterson in '12, eliminating his Outliers lowers his average by about 1 yd per game. The same holds true for Megatron.

What is striking in regards to Miami is that eliminating Hartline's Outliers lowers his average by 8.5 yds per game. Also, his Low Stat Outlier, 0 yds against the Rams, can be considered not an Outlier at all because he also had games of 12 yds and 17 yds, while his High Stat Outlier is more the twice as high as his next nearest statistical game. If you only eliminate the High Stat Outlier, Hartline's average lowers by a total 12.4 yds per game. That is a huge per game stat reduction for a player.

When evaluating players, looking past the Outlier stats is a must, IMO.

The Importance Of QB Rating

A couple of years ago I wrote a post on the importance of QB Ratings. (Here it is if interested: http://www.thephinsider.com/2011/5/10/2164267/what-should-be-expected-from-a-dolphins-qb) Basically what the post boiled down to is that the teams that have QB's with a rating of 90+ usually have a winning record and are in playoff contention. 8 of the 12 teams in the playoffs had QB's with a rating of 90+ this year. 9 of the 11 teams with QB's with a rating of 90+ were .500 or better (Pit and NO finished 7-9). So, since that post and doing that research, I have looked at a 90+ passer for a QB as the key to a winning season and playoff berth.

Guess what I discovered when I did the chart above for Outlier Stats? If you look at the individual games and Tannehill's QB Rating for those games, there is an obvious trend. Miami had QB's with a passer rating of 90+ in 8 games in '12 (7 games for Tannehill and 1 game for Moore when Tannehill got hurt against the Jets). In those 8 games when Miami got a 90+ rating at QB they were 7-1!! When Miami's QB's had a passer rating of under 90, they were 0-8!!

This single stat, IMO, is the biggest reason to feel optimistic about the '13 season. Miami's QB's had no weapons in the passing game. But even with no weapons, when Miami's QB's played well, as indicated by a 90+ passer rating, they won. Imagine what will happen when some of those passes that were dropped are caught next year with better talent. Imagine what will happen when some of those long passes are complete because Miami has WR's that are deep threats. Imagine what will happen when a WR is capable of catching a slant, can make a DB miss, and score from anywhere on the field. All of those things improve QB Rating. And as we see from above, when QB Ratings improve, Miami Wins.

So let's hope that Miami can find some weapons for Tannehill next year!!!

PS: Thanks for reading this almost 1100 word post. I didn't intend it to be this long.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Phinsider's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of The Phinsider writers or editors.

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