Do Stats Lie? - Moving Endpoints
One game does not make a season. A few games does not make a season. In fact, a full eleven weeks of statistics and grades can still provide a complete misperception of a player. Depending on how we frame a player’s season, we can completely change how he looks based on grades or statistics.
This concept is called “moving endpoints” and is a basic concept in intro-level statistics classes. It’s the easiest way to re-frame a set of data points. By doing this, the author or descriptor of the statistics can present the statistics in a way that is favorable to his or her point. In other words, moving endpoints is the easiest way to lie with statistics.
As an example, let’s look at Andy Dalton. Depending on how we want to present Dalton, we can move endpoints to make the statistics say that Dalton is either pretty good or really bad. Using PFF’s new tool to filter by weeks under the “Position” tab, we can isolate Dalton’s 1st six weeks from his next four weeks. To present Dalton in a positive light, one would reference his first six weeks and the +6.4 PFF grade that he accumulated. If one wanted to present the opposite story, he or she would reference weeks seven through ten where Dalton tallied a -10.6 grade. See, by moving endpoints, we’re able to re-frame an argument any way that we want.
What does this have to do with fantasy football? The ability to move endpoints is a vital tool in seeing how a player is performing historically or just recently. Fantasy football is all about who is hot right now and who is going to be hot in the next matchup. By using moving endpoints, we can remove connotation from a full season’s worth of work and determine who are the guys that are lighting it up recently and use those numbers and that player to catapult our season going forward.
I used this formula to predict Mike Evans’ explosion three weeks ago. Now it’s time to figure out who is next. Here are the players that have performed well over the last few weeks and show great potential to be major contributors the rest of the season.