IDP Stat Crews Under the Microscope - Footballguys

Delving into the oft-ignored edge you can gain in IDP leagues by analyzing stadium stat crews.

In any venture, it is crucial to identify, and properly make use of, any edges you can find. IDP fantasy football is at the best of times a bucking bronco and at the worst a hurricane of statistics, scheme changes and injuries. If you feel comfortable in this maelstrom of data, one more edge towards a championship isn’t going to hurt, is it?

Enter the wonderful world of stadium stat crews, the keepers of fantasy points for our star IDPs and a group we often ignore – to the detriment of our weekly point totals. This article will delve into this murky aspect of IDP leagues, expanding on TVO and attempting to discern patterns in how solo and assisted tackles are awarded.

An explanation of TVO (Total tackles versus opportunity)

In essence, TVO is a useful metric that allows us to crystallize in a single number the total tackles awarded by a stadium stat crew compared to the tackle opportunity. The metric can be further separated into SVO (solo tackles awarded per opportunity) and AVO (assists per opportunity), but the most actionable form for IDP fantasy football enthusiasts is the TVO.

Why is TVO important?

A below-par TVO factor in a stadium can have a detrimental effect on your defensive players’ value. Take the Chicago Bears, for example. Soldier Field has been, in the course of this study, among the bottom four venues for TVO factor. The knock-on effect is that players who make tackles – and who rightfully should be awarded those tackles – are often given the bum’s rush.

This kind of inconsistency in stat crews is one of the major bugaboos of IDP fantasy owners, but it is ultimately something that we cannot change. These stadia have their own employees, each of who seems to have their own system on how tackles are awarded, and whether or not those tackles are solos or assists. It is worth pointing out that, in most scoring systems, solos are worth twice as many fantasy points as assists.

In other words, this stuff matters.

The ongoing mystery of stat crews: a four-year study

A cursory glance at the excellent IDP Matchup Spreadsheet (available in-season as part of Footballguys’ IDP coverage) will tell you that the all-important TVO factor varies wildly from season to season, with very few teams’ stadia remaining a consistent and reliable source of fantasy points.

In reviewing the data from the past four years, it has been possible to put together an overall TVO table which gives a definitive 1-32 of the league’s stat crews over this period. It is only possible to look back, but history can be instructive. 

The complete dataset can be found at the link below, but this abbreviated table will give you an idea of what we are dealing with. 

Team 2017 2016 2015 2014
Giants 1.342 1.367 1.333 1.311
Chargers 1.272 1.146 1.168 1.208

Source: IDP Matchup Spreadsheet (2017, Week 17)

The process was as follows:
1. Pinpoint the TVO factor for each team’s home stat crew from 2014-2017 (inclusive) and take the average of those figures.
2. These four-year averages were then tabulated into a 1-32 rankings set
3. To compare these averages to the most recent data (2017), an additional step was undertaken whereby the stadium’s 2017 TVO ranking was added to the four-year TVO average ranking to produce a ‘strength factor’.

Step 1: Calculating the average

This was a simple operation thanks to the data available from the past four years. Let us take the Buffalo Bills’ stat crew as an example.

2014 TVO factor = 1.322
2015 TVO factor = 1.213
2016 TVO factor = 1.186
2017 TVO factor = 1.221
Average = 1.235

Step 2: Tabulation of average TVO

 

TVO factor

2017

2016

2015

2014

Average

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

New York Giants

1.342

1.367

1.333

1.311

1.33825

2

Los Angeles Chargers

1.272

1.146

1.168

1.208

1.1985

3

Oakland Raiders

1.237

1.08

1.087

1.054

1.1145

4

Washington

1.234

1.262

1.278

1.229

1.25075

5

Carolina

1.229

1.235

1.211

1.189

1.216

6

Buffalo

1.221

1.186

1.213

1.322

1.2355

7

Houston

1.194

1.219

1.252

1.185

1.2125

8

Pittsburgh

1.183

1.171

1.096

1.141

1.14775

9

Green Bay

1.182

1.149

1.15

1.099

1.145

10

Seattle

1.177

1.279

1.231

1.146

1.20825

11

Cincinnati

1.172

1.157

1.169

1.182

1.17

12

New England

1.171

1.236

1.137

1.139

1.17075

13

Cleveland

1.165

1.111

1.099

1.171

1.1365

14

Indianapolis

1.164

1.113

1.172

1.103

1.138

15

Minnesota

1.162

1.135

1.116

1.096

1.12725

16

Atlanta

1.133

1.06

1.095

1.061

1.08725

17

Tampa Bay

1.133

1.139

1.17

1.165

1.15175

18

Dallas

1.126

1.142

1.112

1.056

1.109

19

New Orleans

1.113

1.097

1.098

1.096

1.101

20

Miami

1.105

1.103

1.065

0.985

1.0645

21

San Fran

1.101

1.085

1.127

1.062

1.09375

22

Tennessee

1.098

1.088

1.084

1.068

1.0845

23

Los Angeles Rams

1.091

1.079

1.134

1.075

1.09475

24

New York Jets

1.079

1.166

1.184

1.337

1.1915

25

Detroit

1.069

1.085

1.086

1.074

1.0785

26

Kansas City

1.063

1.027

0.996

0.991

1.01925

27

Baltimore

1.057

1.088

1.195

1.211

1.13775

28

Denver

1.057

1.122

1.056

0.979

1.0535

29

Arizona

1.052

1.026

1.048

1.031

1.03925

30

Philly

1.039

1.003

1.034

0.972

1.012

31

Chicago

1.032

1.005

0.999

0.995

1.00775

32

Jacksonville

1.015

0.991

0.978

1.039

1.00575

Step 3: The ‘strength factor’

In truth, this was a step that wasn’t necessary to undertake, but it was a useful way to sum up the TVO strength of a stadium with a single number. By baking in the four-year average and using the 2017 total to produce something of a ‘recency check’, we can calculate a total as outlined below.

Take the Washington Redskins, for example:

Washington’s average TVO factor (2014-2017) = 1.25
This puts them in 2nd place on the average TVO table. If we now add their position in the 2017 TVO table (4th), we finish with a total of 6.

 

Strength factor rankings

Factor

 

 

 

1

New York Giants

2

2

Washington

6

3

Buffalo

9

4

Carolina

9

5

Los Angeles Chargers

9

6

Houston

12

7

Seattle

16

8

Pittsburgh

20

9

New England

21

10

Cincinnati

21

11

Green Bay

21

12

Oakland

21

13

Tampa Bay

28

14

Indianapolis

28

15

Cleveland

29

16

New York Jets

30

17

Minnesota

32

18

Dallas

37

19

New Orleans

39

20

Atlanta

39

21

Baltimore

42

22

San Francisco

43

23

Los Angeles Rams

44

24

Tennessee

46

25

Miami

46

26

Detroit

50

27

Denver

55

28

Kansas City

55

29

Arizona

57

30

Philadelphia

60

31

Chicago

62

32

Jacksonville

64

The final TVO rankings (four-year average) table

 

 

 

 

Position average 4 years

Team

Average TVO

Position in 2017 table 

1

New York Giants

1.338

1st

2

Washington

1.25

4th

3

Buffalo

1.235

6th

4

Carolina

1.216

5th

5

Houston

1.212

7th

6

Seattle

1.208

10th

7

Los Angeles Chargers

1.198

2nd

8

New York Jets

1.191

24th

9

New England

1.17

12th

10

Cincinnati

1.17

11th

11

Tampa Bay

1.151

17th

12

Pittsburgh

1.14775

8th

13

Green Bay

1.145

9th

14

Indianapolis

1.138

14th

15

Baltimore

1.137

27th

16

Cleveland

1.1365

13th

17

Minnesota

1.127

15th

18

Oakland

1.145

3rd

19

Dallas

1.109

18th

20

New Orleans

1.101

19th

21

Los Angeles Rams

1.094

23rd

22

San Francisco

1.093

21st

23

Atlanta

1.087

16th

24

Tennessee

1.084

22nd

25

Detroit

1.0785

25th

26

Miami

1.064

20th

27

Denver

1.0535

28th

28

Arizona

1.0392

29th

29

Kansas City

1.019

26th

30

Philadelphia

1.012

30th

31

Chicago

1.007

31st

32

Jacksonville

1.005

32nd

What are the trends?

Before undertaking this project, one of the major questions was whether or not one could discern a pattern among these seemingly random stat crews. As it turns out, the answer is a firm yes.

The cellar-dwellers on the list – Arizona, Denver, Kansas City, Philadelphia, Chicago and Jacksonville – have been consistently poor for TVO factor the past four years. All of these stat crews are stingy when it comes to awarding tackles, depressing the value of IDP stars playing on their turf.

The top tier teams have tended to stay in the upper echelons. The New York Giants are far and away the most reliable stat crew for TVO factor, while Washington, Buffalo, Carolina, and Houston have also been generous. The New York Jets are an outlier here; their stat crew ranked 24th in 2017 but has a four-year average ranking of 8th. What irks about this peculiarity is that the Giants and Jets share a stadium. Surely the two stat crews could get on the same page?

Meanwhile, it is a veritable free-for-all in the middle of the pack, with teams like Oakland enjoying a rollercoaster ride (3rd in 2017; a four-year average of 18th). These stat crews will do just enough to make IDP assets viable, so it is more beneficial for us as owners to focus on the top and bottom, anyway.

How we can exploit these trends in IDP leagues

Here is one takeaway from each of the top and bottom four stat crews:

The top tier

New York Giants: New signing Alec Ogletree should see a bump in value, while Landon Collins (if deployed in the same role) will remain a top DB/pseudo-LB option. An emphasis on the ground game with Saquon Barkley should see visiting defenders get a nice weekly points boost.
Washington Redskins: The returning Jonathan Allen and LB Zach Brown have terrific potential in home games, while the savvy yet conservative Alex Smith may revert to his former self in his new uniform, yielding plenty of tackle opportunity for IDPs on the road at Washington.
Buffalo Bills: Sean McDermott’s scheme should have IDP owners drooling over the potential of Tremaine Edmunds. A stat crew this helpful will be an added boon to his value.
Carolina Panthers: You can imagine what the advice on Luke Kuechly might be, but don’t sleep on Shaq Thompson. The Panthers will phase out Thomas Davis this season despite his enduring talent, and three of the team’s first four games are at home while Davis is suspended.

The bottom of the barrel

Kansas City Chiefs: Arrowhead Stadium should be among the stadia you avoid, such that breaking ties against players in action there would be acceptable.
Philadelphia Eagles: Champions they may be, but not in the hearts and minds of veteran IDP owners, who have been stymied by their stat crew time after time.
Chicago Bears: Roquan Smith may be talented enough to overcome this stadium handicap, but it has to be a factor when weighing him up against the likes of Tremaine Edmunds in rookie drafts.
Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars have plenty of IDP options on their roster, but these players deserve to be bumped down on this data.


 

Thanks for reading. If you have any questions regarding IDP fantasy football, please drop me a line on Twitter @davlar87