Performance Based Value
There are countless ways you can use the data at Pro Football Focus to help your understanding of the pro game and we’re always looking for new ways to enhance your PFF experience — today we’re unveiling the newest.
We’ve created a methodology to translate a player’s 2012 grade and playing time into a dollar figure to suggest how much that player should have been paid during the 2012 season. Over the next several weeks we’ll be revealing some of our 2012 ‘Performance Based Values’ in a variety of team-by-team and position-by-position articles. Those pieces will be linked here as they post, so check in daily to see what we’ve added.
AFC East: BUF | MIA | NE | NYJ
AFC North: BAL | CIN | CLE | PIT
AFC South: HOU | IND | JAX | TEN
AFC West: DEN | KC | OAK | SD
NFC East: DAL | NYG | PHI | WAS
NFC North: CHI | DET | GB | MIN
NFC South: ATL | CAR | NO | TB
NFC West: ARZ | SEA | SF | STL
Here are some notes on the method used:
The Basic Idea
We set out to take the highest cap hit at a position and match that up with that position’s highest-rated player. Then take the second-highest cap hit and match it with the second-highest-graded player, and so on. All players who were either active or inactive for at least one game were included, and players who spent the entire year on injured reserve or as free agents, ignored. The goal being to set salaries right, based solely on player performance during the 2012 season.
Making it Work
The problem with keeping it as simple as that first process was that the best player at a position could, for example, have a grade of +30.0 while the second-best could have finished at +20.0; a sizable drop from the top. The top two cap hits, however, could be nearly identical. It wouldn’t make sense to have two players with vastly different grades marked as deserving the same pay, so formulas were applied at each position to find the right balance — following as closely as possible how NFL players are currently being paid, while also accounting for the distribution of our grades.
A player’s playing time was also considered when determining their deserved salary. After all, we wouldn’t want to say a player who played a handful of snaps and ended with a grade of 0.0 should be paid more than someone who played the entire season and finished at -0.1.
Exploring the Data
There are various ways we could use the Performance Based Values. While we could rank players by who should get paid the most at each position, that would basically end up the same as listing them by the highest grades. What is much more interesting is comparing how much money a player actually made in 2012 with how much he should have made based on his performance and that’s where we’ll head first.
Keep in Mind
These values for players apply to the 2012 season. Although it can have some indication for the future, it wouldn’t make sense to apply in that manner in all cases. This is especially true with injured players. Someone like Brent Grimes who went down in Week 1 will not rate very high in Performance Based Value. That certainly doesn’t mean he should be worth so little going forward. Creating a predictive Performance Based Value is something that we may look to do in the future, but currently it should only be used retrospectively.
Follow Nathan on Twitter: @PFF_NateJahnke