The Case for Dermot Lavelle as MVP
So I want to bring up Dermot Lavelle as a league MVP candidate. Most of you know him as the league owner, the milk man, the former twig with gains. He eats only one meal ever, chicken, pasta, and milk. As of a few months ago he added green peas. Well I'm here to enlighten you guys about his on the field performance.
What is an MVP?
Let's first review what it means to be an MVP. For many people the MVP is really just another way of saying the most outstanding player of that season. Usually this will be an offensive player because the stats are simple and obvious to most people. Offense moves forward, so if they pick up 1000 yards on the season you know they were directly responsible for helping their team move down the field a lot. Same goes for touchdowns, it's pretty easy to determine that. Sometimes however, a defensive player will have such an otherworldly powerful season that they can't be denied the MVP. Once again though, the stats of importance are the obvious ones like sacks, we all know it's a huge negative play that pushes the offense back, usually resulting in a forced punt or kick for that series. However, tackles as the main defensive stat hinders them. How far downfield was the tackle made? Is he just cleaning up for others? Did the tackle really slow down the drive or simply delay the inevitable?
Getting back on track I want to veer away from the discussion of MVP being a parallel to most outstanding player, and steer it towards value they provided to a team on the season. This means playing an important position, assisting the team in multiple phases, and still being a statistically significant player. Also with football being the most superstar agnostic, team-centric sport out there, the MVP is a solely regular season based award. Playoff status or results need not apply.
Dermot Lavelle is the S9 NSFL MVP.
He's a cornerback so let's start with defense.Defense
The way this sim works tackles are actually an important stat for cornerbacks. It's really hard to stop catches, so a corners job is more to stop the receiver after making the catch than actually stopping the catch. In this case Dermot was among the best with 76. This puts him seventh among DBs, but more importantly 4th among cornerbacks. The other DBs ahead of him were free safeties which in their role will generally rack up more tackles than corners. From my observations in sim watching generally a corner will tackle their receiver fairly quickly, and if they don't it is the free safety that will clean up the mess after a large gain. Dermot beat out our free safety Clee Hardrool by two tackles, who was mostly covering up for the woefully outmatched Samuel Zhang. Dermot Lavelle was third best cornerback in the league with tackles as a percentage of total team tackles, meaning he stopped a lot of passes.
Now you're probably thinking well he must not be that good of a cornerback if he's giving up all of these catches, well the first point is that's just kind of how this sim works, and the other is that he is actually the best player in the league at stopping catches, and turning them over. One caveat before we start, the sim likes to double up on stats a few times, one of those ways is with PDs and INTs. So, as an example, if it says a player had one interception and three pass deflections, it means they swatted down two passes and intercepted one. So it counts the interception as a pass deflection as well. Now Dermott I would say was the undisputed secondary king this year with eight interceptions and twenty eight deflections. So with a total of twenty eight deflections he was second in the league, two short of Delacour at thirty and three ahead of Spector at twenty five. He also led the league with eight interceptions, one ahead of second place Ryan Flock. I would also say Dermot was the most dangerous corner in the league. He was second in the league with an interception conversion rate of 28.57%, only below Ryan Flock's absolutely insane 50%, and way ahead of the closes corner, Spector's 20%. So almost one third of the passes Dermott got his hands on resulted in a turnover. Insanely good play.Offense
But we're not really done without talking about Lavelle's stint as a receiver. One of the only true two way players in the game he is a standout on offense as well. Taking a quick look at his stats he was a big play threat with 16.7 yards per catch, tied for sixth best in the league. This allowed him to amass a very healthy 618 yards on only thirty seven catches. He also contributed six touchdowns, tied for eighth best in the league. No other two way player comes anywhere near him. The next best is Spector with seven catches, 107 yards, and one touchdown.
Now a counter point to his ability as a receiver is surely he must have a lot of drops, well yes he did have a few but they weren't detrimental to the progress of the team. Strong wide receivers average somewhere around an 10% drop rate or lower, with examples from Howard Miller at 11.49%, Bradley Westfield at 10.59%, Trey Willie at 5.88% and Carlito Crush at 4.76%. Now Dermot had a 19.57% drop rate which is way worse than the best receivers but hey he's not a WR, hes a cornerback and he actualy performed better than many offensive threats. Notable offensive players with a higher drop rate are DJ Riddick at 25.84%, Jordan Yates at 26.80%, Zapp Brannigan at 23.29%, and Darren Smallwood at 26.39%. So I would say being better at catching the ball than many top flight running backs is an impressive feat for a cornerback.Special Teams
How can you talk about the White Punt Returner without discussing his return skills as well. Nothing really to say here everyone knows Dermot has been the best or one of the best returners in the game every season with punt returning being his forte.
So if we start with kick returning he averaged 28.8 yards per return, good for fourth in the league, but let's take a closer look at those three players ahead of him. Mark Grau with seven kick returns, Damien Kroetch with three kick returns, Alexander LeClair with eight kick returns. Hardly a sample size that can be relied upon, and with Grau having one return of 102 yards really skews some of these stats. Dermot had thirty two kick returns on the season and was just as explosive with a ninety eight yard return resulting in a touchdown. That was the fifth longest kick return on the season and the touchdown has him tied for the league lead in kick return touchdowns. Also if we discount Grau's seven returns, Lavelle led the league in touchdown per kick return with 3.13%, with Darren Morris second at 2.63%
Moving to punt returns Lavelle led the league handily with forty six punt returns, next closest being Garden with thirty nine. Perhaps evidence of his stellar defensive play leading to his own return opportunities. But I digress, even while grossly leading the field in returns he also led in average per return, narrowly beating out Bradley Westfield by .2 yards, with 11.6. This is due to his explosive potential as a returner with the tied for longest punt return of the season at seventy five yards, and three of his returns resulting in touchdowns. Better yet, 6.52% of his returns resulted in a touchdown, the next closest being Darren Morris with 3.33%.
Dermot is such a force in the return game let's just have a little fun and combine his kick and punt returns and look at the touchdown rate, discounting Grau for his very low number of returns once again. Dermot is a monster and laps the field at 5.12% returns resulting in a touchdown. Second place, once again is Darren Morris with 2.94%.Conclusion
So in conclusion I leave you with these words.
Dermot Lavelle is the most deserving player in the league for the MVP award.
Dermot Lavelle was the most valuable player on his team, in three phases. He was the best cornerback, best returner, and a more than serviceable wide receiver. No player out there can match the breadth and depth of Dermot's accomplishments this season.
Defensive Stats: 76 Tackles, 8 Interceptions, 28 Pass Deflections, 28.57% Interception Conversion Rate
Offensive Stats: 37 Receptions, 618 Yards, 16.7 Yards Per Reception, 6 Touchdowns, 19.57% Drop Rate
Kick Return Stats: 32 Returns, 28.8 Yards Per Return, 1 Touchdown, 3.13% Touchdown Rate
Punt Return Stats: 46 Returns, 11.6 Yards Per Return, 3 Touchdowns, 6.52% Touchdown Rate