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My Content
Mar 12 2018, 09:41 AM
Last season I remember thinking to myself, “We (the Hawks) always seem to get penalized far more than our opponent. The sim hates us.” I assumed it was just conformational bias and probably not true, but I HAD to look into it further. This is what I learned.
I went through the box scores of each game in S5 to find not only the number of penalties, but also the number of yards, and whether there was a difference between home and away teams, as the away team always seemed to get the shaft when it came to penalties. The first table is number of penalties, while the second is number of yards. Black numbers are home games, red numbers are away games. (It's also worth mentioning that I'm very daft and couldn't figure out how to change the axis labels.)
1 = Baltimore
2 = YK
3 = Philly
4 = CO
5 = OC
6 = AZ
7 = LV
8 = SJ

Much to my surprise, most teams were fairly close, but there seemed to be two tiers in the numbers. The top five teams, Colorado, San Jose, OC, Baltimore, and Philly all averaged more than 5.1 penalties a game. Whereas the bottom three, Arizona, Yellowknife, and Las Vegas, all averaged less than 4.6 a game, with Las Vegas averaging only 3.8 penalties per game (30% less than league leading Colorado). Unsurprisingly, the away team does in fact have more penalties called on them per game, with the away team averaging roughly 2 more penalties per game. I also found the difference in home vs away penalties pretty interesting. Two teams, the Liberty and the Hawks averaged nearly 4 more penalties when away, while two teams, Colorado and Yellowknife, averaged less than 1 penalty difference when looking at home vs away. Yellowknife was astonishingly even, averaging only .14 more away penalties per game than home penalties, or only 1 more away penalty over the course of the entire season.

When looking at yardage, unsurprisingly, there is a fairly direct correlation between number of penalties and penalty yards, with a few minor changes. When it come to penalty yards per game, the league average was 38. Three teams, OC, Colorado, and Baltimore were all significantly above that, while Yellowknife and Las Vegas were significantly below. Philadelphia, while still below the average, were only 1 yard off and is by far the closest team to the league average. Although I so badly wanted be able to show a correlation between penalty yards and wins, Orange County and Laz Vegas completely destroy that notion, as OC was the most penalized team yet won the most games, and Las Vegas was the least penalized team, and won the least games. The obvious conclusion would be that there is actually a negative correlation between penalty yards and wins, but the second most/least penalized teams destroy that was well, as Colorado (2nd least wins) was the second most penalized, and Yellowknife (2nd most wins) was the 2nd least penalized. It seems safe to say that there is little to no correlation on penalty yards and wins, at least when looking at season 5.

The average penalty in S5 of the NSFL was roughly 8 yards, with only 2 teams scoring above that, the Baltimore Hawks averaged 8.5 yards per penalty, while the Orange County Otters averaged 8.4. The Philadelphia Liberty were the lowest at 7.4 yards per penalty.

Yet again, the difference between home and away yardage is significant, with the home team averaging roughly 30 yards in penalties, while the away team averages roughly 47 yards per game, making for a 17 yard difference. Two teams in the league were far above that average difference, the Baltimore Hawks had a difference of 26.6 yards (a 9.6 yard difference) and the Philadelphia Liberty at 26.0 yards (a 9.0 yard difference). On the other hand, two teams were far below the 17 yard difference, with San Jose averaging only 8 more penalty yards when away, while the Yellowknife Wraiths have the distinction of being the only team to average more penalty yards as the home team, at roughly 1 more penalty yard per game vs away.

Above is everything I talked about in a handy-dandy ranking table. I know it doesn't mean much without numbers, but it shows general trends like Yellowknife clearly throwing some money towards the refs, or that the league really wants Colorado to fail. If you have any questions or there’s anything that I botched, please feel free to let me know below.
Feb 1 2018, 01:21 PM
When award time rolld around there's always plenty of debate of who should win. This season, there are four exceptional choices for QB of the year. Because I had such a hard time deciding, I'd decided to make a handy-dandy chart.

For the sake of easy viewing, I decided to color-code everything.
Blue = 1st
Green = 2nd
Orange = 3rd
Red = 4th

From a cursory glance, you can see that Akselsen and Boss both rank first the most with four each, Blocksdale ranks second the most with five, and Bronko’s most common finish was fourth, with four of those. However, some of these numbers can be misleading. Akselsen, who had 49 more attempts than the second place Boss, and 98 more attempts than the fourth place Blocksdale, is far more likely to lead in volume stats (completions, attempts, yards, TDs, and INTs, which is obviously negative). On the flip-side, Blocksdale, who has the least number of stats is more likely to finish last in those same statistics. Because of this, I added some new statistics to eliminate a volume bias, and reconfigured others, to level the playing field.

The statistics I will be ranking QBs on are yards per attempt, completion percentage, touchdown percentage (TDs/attempts), interception percentage (INTs/attempts), and QB rating.

As you can see, weighting each category equally, the picture changes significantly. Akselsen, who led in many volume-based statistics now is ranked last in the most categories with three fourth place finishes, and finished in the bottom half of every category except for one. Bronko is a solid third with fourth place finishes in completion percentage and interception percentage. Blocksdale is second with three second place finishes, and Boss is still number one with three first place finishes. A couple interesting caveats, the difference in QB rating for Boss and Blocksdale is 0.1 and interception percentage is 0.05%, both of which I would quantify as a negligible difference. If you were to even those out, Blocksdale inches closer with a score of 10 to 8. However, Boss maintains his ever so slight edge, and with the addition of a second straight Ultimus, earns this season's QB of the Year honors.
Jan 16 2018, 03:07 PM
As a running back, I was always bothered by the incredibly low yards per carry across the league. The league leader in yards per carry last season (with over 100 carries) was only 3.6 YPC, a number that would surely get you benched in the NFL. It has also become increasingly clear that in order to suceed in the NSFL your team must focus on the pass, as run focused teams have historically finished very poorly. Below are some stats that I found pretty eye-opening.

So, first thing’s first, we need our baseline. For the sake of comparison, the easiest baseline is to use the 2017 season of NFL. Depending on who you ask, the NSFL is either a league below, or just outright replaced the NFL in terms of skill level. In actuality, it’s the only real-world comparison we can make with readily available statistics. The major takeaways here are the attempts per game, yards per game, and yards per attempt for both rushing and passing. On average, an NFL team runs 60 offensive plays a game, with 45% being run plays and 55% being pass plays.

Next, we have the same stats, but for the current season of the NSFL. The number of rushing attempts is 11% lower when compared to the NFL, but more shockingly would be the difference in yards per game and yards per attempt. The NSFL averages 30 less yards per game (27% difference) while also averaging .75 less yards per carry (18% difference). While not the biggest difference percentage wise, the yards per carry difference should be the most alarming. At ¾ of a yard less, the changes this causes to the league are significant. A 3.34 YPC average means that if teams want to run for ball movement, any delineation from the average makes getting first down almost impossible. With running being far less effective, teams rely on passing to do most of the heavy lifting with running relegated to mainly a goal-line role, and a way to keep defenses somewhat honest, for most teams. On average, NSFL teams attempt 8 more passes (24% difference) for 95 more yards per game (42% difference). On average, an NSFL team runs 65 plays, with 37% being run plays and 63% being pass plays. This number is worse than it looks as the LEAST balanced offense in the NFL was the Miami Dolphins, who (according to PFF) ran 37.4% run plays and 62.6% pass plays. Essentially, the average NSFL team is MORE UNBALANCED than the LEAST BALANCED offense in the NFL.

Not to pick on the Yeti, but I had to include statistics without them as they are a statistical outlier in nearly every category. Without the Yeti offense in to skew the averages (they’ve run 63.5% and passed 36.5% of the time) the number are absolutely out of control. The number of rushing attempts drops by 3 more to make it a 22% difference and 37 less yards to make it a nearly 34% difference (both when compared to the NFL). However, the yards per carry did improve slightly, to .68 YPC less than the NFL average. The gap in passing attempts widens by another 2 (30% difference) and yards take a jump to 343 yards per game (a MASSIVE 119 yards or 53% increase when compared to the NFL).

Clearly, the unbalanced nature of the offenses in the NSFL is something we should consider addressing in the offseason. A few things really stand out to me, the nearly 20% difference in YP when compared to the NFL is eye-opening. However, this statement, “Essentially, the average NSFL team is MORE UNBALANCED than the LEAST BALANCED offense in the NFL.”, is the most shocking to me. I think the best way would be a slight bump in yards per carry, with a league wide average of 4 YPC seeming to be the sweet spot.

EDIT: I understand that most teams will be pass heavy as this is a player driven league and there are more receivers than running backs. However, as it stands, running is not a viable option for an offense. When a guy like Boss Tweed, who has the 2nd most TPE of any player in the NSFL is averaging 2.9 YPC, there's clearly something wrong.

Jan 15 2018, 03:50 PM
D-Line Standouts: Season 4 Review

Welcome to our season review of our Season 4 Defensive Line Standouts. This is always my favorite piece to write each season, as it allows me the chance to reflect on the season as a whole and comment on the possible future. Unfortunately, next year, there will be some changes made as doing this for each week in the NSFL has just become too unwieldly. As of now, the plan is to continue with one for each week in real time, but things may change. For those of you that have taken the time to read this, thank you! I hope you get as much enjoyment from reading this as I do writing it. Enough chit chat… Let’s begin!

Team Appearances After Week 14*

Baltimore: 31 (+3)
Arizona: 28 (+1)
Orange County: 24 (+2)
San Jose: 23 (+1)
Las Vegas: 18 (+1)
Yellowknife: 17 (+1)
Philadelphia: 16 (+0)
Colorado: 15 (+3)

Well, a big congrats are in order for the Baltimore Hawks. Despite missing the playoffs for the first time since season 1, they finished atop our list with 31 appearances, 2 ahead of the Arizona Outlaws. Since I started this in season 2, Arizona and Baltimore have both been a beacon of consistency, as neither have ever finished below third. Orange County, a team that has never appeared in the top half of our standings before this year, finished third. Even more surprising, our defending champs from season 3 finished in a disappointing fourth place. Las Vegas has seen a steady decline from their first-place finish in season 2, finishing fourth last season and fifth this season. Like last year, Yellowknife finished 6th in our standings, tying their all-time high. Philadelphia followed suit, finishing in seventh place after finishing there in season 3 as well. It is also their highest finishing spot. Colorado finished the season ranked dead last, marking the second consecutive season they have done so after finishing fourth in season 2.

Baltimore Hawks
K. Hendrix, DE ($ x10), 114 points
R. Sandoval, DT ($ x9), 99 points *TRADED TO THE COLORADO YETI*
B. Metas, DT ($ x5), 50 points
J. Andres, DE ($ x5), 63 points
D. Dam, DE ($$) (played at both LB and DE)

Arizona Outlaws
A. Asipi, DT ($ x 10), 95 points
B. Blade, DE ($ x5), 85 points *TRADED TO THE YELLOWKNIFE WRAITHS*
G. King, DT ($ x5), 79 points

Orange County Otters
G. Wright Jr, DE ($ x7), 109 points
G. Clegane, DT ($ x7), 101 points
A. Tomlinson, DT ($ x7), 78 points
J. Boom, DE ($$$), 60 points

San Jose SaberCats
D. Miller, DT ($ x12), 127 points
C. Okonkwo, DE ($$$$), 75 points
C. Chambers III, DT ($$$$), 45 points
E. Charlton, DE ($$$), 71 points

Las Vegas Legion
B. Bot, DE ($ x7), 80 points *RETIRING AT END OF S5*
V. Cox, DT ($ x6), 75 points
J. Cox, DE ($$$$), 73 points
A. Saginaw, DT ($), 28 points

Yellowknife Wraiths
R. Maddox, DE ($ x6), 101 points
B. Bjornsson, DT ($ x6), 80 points *TRADED TO THE LAS VEGAS LEGION*
E. Gustavsson, DE ($$$$), 54 points
R. Fitzfatrick, DT ($), 41 points

Philadelphia Liberty
E. Kamaka, DT ($ x8), 95 points
M. Ramrio, DE ($ x5), 74 points *TRADED TO THE ARIZONA OUTLAWS*
D. Davidson, DE ($$$), 60 points

Colorado Yeti
F. Wozy, DE ($ x6), 84 points *TRADED TO THE ARIZONA OUTLAWS*
A. Sandoval, DE ($ x6), 67 points
S. Skidmarks, DT ($$$), 63 points

At the end of the season there was a lot of talk about defensive ends possibly receiving a buff. I found it interesting, however, that based on my scale, defensive ends averaged 79.4 points per player, while defensive tackles actually averaged lower, at 75.4. My guess is that people were shocked by the significantly lower number of sacks compared to previous years and began to panic without looking at all of the stats. While sacks for defensive end are indeed much lower than previous years, their number of tackles for loss (which I have valued at less than half of a sack) are still very high.
As always, if you have any comments, corrections, or question, I’d love to hear them below.

*Just a reminder, this ranking is not necessarily indicative of how well a team’s defense is operating as a whole, just how many times a player from that team has appeared on our list.

Jan 12 2018, 04:28 PM
Defensive Line Standouts – Season 4 Review

Welcome to our defensive line standouts season 4 review for defensive tackles! This year will be handled a little differently as I will be breaking it up into 3 pieces, defensive ends, defensive tackles, and team over-view. I decided to write more in-depth at the top 4 for each position, while a more team focused breakdown will follow later. Enjoy!

Defensive Tackle Top Performers

D. Miller ($ x12) 52 TCK, 1 TFL, 16 SCK, 1 forced fumble, 2 fumbles recovered (127 points)
If you followed my articles with any type of consistency over last season, it should come as no surprise to you that not only is Dan Miller the highest scoring defensive tackle, he’s also the highest scoring defensive lineman of the season. His twelve appearances were the most of any player this season, and the second most all-time. Miller finished the season with an impressive 16 sacks, the most of any defensive lineman and second most of any player in the NSFL. Miller wasn’t just a one-trick pony though, as he provided valuable run support as well. His 52 tackles were the third most by a defensive tackle and the fourth most of any defensive lineman. One considered the, “King of the Strip Sack” Miller was able to record 1 forced fumble and 2 fumbles recovered, but that was a sharp decline over season 3 where he finished with 4 and 2, respectively. Miller is the SaberCats defensive line, and an invaluable piece for their defense. If Miller ever leaves the SaberCats, the defense will take a massive hit, but youngster Chamber III has shown himself to be an emerging star, no doubt helped by the tutelage of the best defensive tackle in the league.

A. Asipi ($ x10) 39 TCK, 4 TFL, 12 SCK (95 points)
Arbin Asipi has had an interesting career. To get a better understanding, we have to go all the way back to the beginning, the inaugural season of the NSFL. Asipi finished with a solid 37 tackles and 4 sacks, showing himself to be a solid building piece for the Arizona Outlaws. He improvement continued in season 2 where he finished with 42 tackles and 9 sacks, while also adding 3 recovered fumbles. In season 3, after the addition of rookie sensation, Godfrey King, Asipi was asked to move to guard to help shore up their offensive line. After a solid season, which saw him record 44 pancakes and allow 6 sacks, Asipi was asked to once again change positions, this time back to defensive tackle. He returned to the defense with a renewed vigor, recording career highs in tackles for loss and sacks, while also recording the second most tackles of his career. His 12 sacks were the third most of any defensive lineman, and tied for the third most of any player in the NSFL. Great things are expected from Asipi this year, who is returning to defensive tackle for his final season, as he has announced that he will be retiring at season’s end.

R. Sandoval ($ x9) 47 TCK, 13 SCK (99 points)
Last year, there were 2 fantastic rookie campaigns by defensive tackles, King (who finished the year with a respectable 5 appearances this season) and Ricardo Sandoval. While King regressed a tad (as did most defensive linemen due to league changes), Sandoval actually exceeded his rookie campaign in some ways. Although his tackle number regressed a fair amount (61 to 47), his sack numbers actually increased from 12 to 13, which is incredibly remarkable considering those 13 sacks were enough to place his second among defensive linemen and third in the league overall. Things looked great in Baltimore, 2 of the best defensive linemen in the league would create headaches for QBs for season to come… then everything went sideways. Sandoval was named GM of the Las Vegas Legion and was promptly traded. After a very short and tumultuous tenure, Sandoval stepped down from his GM spot and was, again, promptly traded, this time to Colorado. This was a boon for Sandoval as he would now able to line up next to his brother, defensive end Antonio Sandoval. It will be interesting to see how Sandoval handles the transition to a new city. Colorado has always been clamoring for a pass-rush to support Fuego Wozy, but he was recently traded to Arizona. Have they finally found their answer with the Sandoval brothers?

E. Kamaka, ($ x8) 68 TCK, 1 TFL, 5 SCK, 1 forced fumble (95 points)
Talk about an unknown. Eli Kamaka came out of nowhere to prove himself as the best run support defensive linemen in the NSFL. Well, out of nowhere may be stretching it a tad. As a season 3 rookie defensive end, Kamaka started out well enough, but was asked to convert to guard to fill a massive team need. Ever the team player, Kamaka obliged and finished the season with 20 pancakes and 7 sacks allowed. In what seems to be a reoccurring theme, after league wide changes were made, Kamaka made the transition back to defense, but this time to the interior of the line, as a defensive tackle. To say that his impact was immediate would be an understatement. In his first game as a defensive tackle, he finished with 3 tackles and 2 sacks. Many thought Kamaka would be challenging Miller for the DT sack crown after that first week, but his season quickly pivoted. Kamaka took on a much more under-appreciated, yet equally important role, that of a run-stopping specialist. Kamaka finished with an impressive 68 tackles, the most of any defensive lineman, and 15 more than his next closest competitor. Being a run-stopper is not a glamourous role. They rarely get any respect or attention. However, Eli Kamaka, you’ve gained the respect of this writer.

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