In the 2015 off-season there was a vote on a proposed change to scoring rules designed to reduce the impact of big plays on defensive performance. All of the changes passed and although the increase in scoring for Passes Defended came in last season, most of the big changes are coming in from this season. Now that the changes have been made on the MFL site we can look at how the changes would have affected last season’s scoring to help form an opinion on how the value of our players has been affected.
Here are the proposed changes as a reminder:
- Interception return yards reduced from 0.1 per yard to 0.05 per yard. Was effective in the 2015 season.
- Fumble return yards introduced at 0.05 per yard. Was effective in the 2015 season.
- Points for a Pass Defended increase from 2 to 3 (for CBs and Ss) and from 1 to 2 (for all other positions). Was effective in the 2015 season.
- Points for a Forced Fumble or Interception to be reduced from 10 to 6. Effective from the 2016 season.
- Points for a Solo Tackle to be increased from 0.5 to 0.75. Effective from the 2016 season.
The increase in passes defended scoring was designed to compensate for the loss of Int scoring. Because the two rules came in for different seasons the effect will actually appear to be a reduction in CB and S scoring because in 2015 they were still scoring INTs at a higher rate while also getting more points for passes defended.
Effect on Rankings
I extracted data from the top 200 IDP scorers with both the new scoring and the old scoring (for weeks 1-16). Below are the top 30 IDP scorers according to the new rules, alongside their ranking by the old rules.
|Name||New D Rank||Old||Shift|
|Donald, Aaron STL DT||1||1||0|
|Short, Kawann CAR DT||2||2||0|
|Peters, Marcus KCC CB||3||3||0|
|Watt, J.J. HOU DE||4||5||+1|
|Jones, Reshad MIA S||5||6||+1|
|Mathieu, Tyrann ARI S||6||4||-2|
|Atkins, Geno CIN DT||7||7||0|
|Suh, Ndamukong MIA DT||8||11||+3|
|Mack, Khalil OAK LB||9||10||+1|
|Davis, Thomas CAR LB||10||9||-1|
|Norman, Josh CAR CB||11||8||-3|
|David, Lavonte TBB LB||12||17||+5|
|Smith, Malcolm OAK LB||13||22||+9|
|Smith, Telvin JAC LB||14||26||+12|
|Ansah, Ezekiel DET DE||15||14||-1|
|Dunlap, Carlos CIN DE||16||19||+3|
|Jenkins, Malcolm PHI S||17||21||+4|
|Bucannon, Deone ARI S||18||27||+9|
|Jackson, D’Qwell IND LB||19||32||+13|
|Johnson, Trumaine STL CB||20||12||-8|
|Kuechly, Luke CAR LB||21||20||-1|
|Johnson, Derrick KCC LB||22||31||+9|
|Jones, Chandler NEP DE||23||16||-7|
|Wilkerson, Muhammad NYJ DE||24||23||-1|
|Ingram, Melvin SDC LB||25||28||+3|
|Coleman, Kurt CAR S||26||15||-11|
|Collins, Jamie NEP LB||27||18||-9|
|Posluszny, Paul JAC LB||28||39||+11|
|Nelson, Reggie CIN S||29||13||-16|
|Breeland, Bashaud WAS CB||30||25||-5|
There’s big movement, in ranking terms, here for the likes of Malcolm Smith (97 solo tackles), Telvin Smith (93), Deone Bucannon (85), D’Qwell Jackson (86), Derrick Johnson (87) and Paul Posluszny (99).
All 6 of these players were in the top 10 for solo tackles in the NFL last season along with Navorro Bowman, Reshad Jones, Corey Graham and Malcolm Jenkins. The impact on Bowman and Graham will be outlined below. Reshad Jones showed minimal movement due to also having a high number of INTs and Malcolm Jenkins was the same but with FFs.
In terms of reduction, the biggest losers should be DBs (CBs in particular) and edge rushers due to their high INT and FF numbers. Trumaine Johnson (48 solo tackles, 7 interceptions), Chandler Jones (31 tackles, 4 FFs), Kurt Coleman (55 tackles, 7 INTs), Jamie Collins (46 tackles, 5 FFs, 1 INT) and Reggie Nelson (45 tackles, 8 INTs) were the biggest losers in positional terms.
Johnson, Coleman and Nelson were 3 of the top 5 for interceptions in the league along with Marcus Williams (who also took a big hit, see below) and Marcus Peters (who had 26 passes defended, compared to 14, 9, 17 and 10 for the other 4). The NFL leaders in forced fumbles were Jamie Collins (impact noted above) and Shaq Barrett of the Broncos, a player whose rank fell from #79 to #100.
Effect on Points
Showing how players rankings changed is useful but what does a drop of 16 ranks for Reggie Nelson actually mean? What does a jump of 13 ranks for D’Qwell Jackson look like? What is the overall effect on defensive scoring vs. offensive scoring?
One of the aims of the proposal was to try and not reduce the number of points defensive players scored compared to offensive players. Devaluing the defence as a whole would be very bad for the league. The average points change for the top 200 defensive players was an increase of 1 point over the season. This is good news as it means that, broadly speaking, defensive players are worth as much now as they were and the impact is localized to particular types of players, as was intended.
A drop of 16 ranks for Reggie Nelson translates to a loss of 21 points over the season or 1.3 points per game (the third highest decrease in defensive players). The increase of 13 ranks for Jackson is an increase of 13.5 points or 0.84 points per game (sixth highest increase in the league). Although these changes are obviously not insignificant it’s worth noting that only 6 players lost 1 or more points per game and only 1 player gained 1 or more point per game. Below is a table of the players who gained or lost the most points over the course of the season. You’ll note many of the same names already mentioned appearing.
|Biggest Winners||Pts Gained|
|Biggest Losers||Pts Lost|
Peaks and Troughs
For most players the effect over the course of the season is minimal (149 of the top 200 players shifted by fewer than 8 points over the season) but one of the aims of the scoring was to decrease the variance in the weekly performances too. Ideally, most players would score the same over the season but have a higher floor and a lower ceiling. Below is the top 25 individual scores with the new scoring and with the old scoring. It includes offensive players so we can see whether the changes are evening out the big scores amongst O and D.
|2015||2016||Player||Week||Old Points||New Points||Shift|
|1||1||Short, Kawann CAR DT||7||53.5||51||-2.5|
|2||2||Mack, Khalil OAK LB||14||48.25||45.75||-2.5|
|3||7||Short, Kawann CAR DT||14||46.5||39.25||-7.25|
|4||8||Wake, Cameron MIA DE||6||46||39||-7|
|5||4||Brees, Drew NOS QB||8||44.3||44.3||0|
|6||3||Donald, Aaron STL DT||14||44.25||45.25||1|
|7||15||Peters, Marcus KCC CB||15||43.9||36.4||-7.5|
|8||13||Cox, Fletcher PHI DE||5||43||36.5||-6.5|
|9||5||Newton, Cam CAR QB||15||41.6||41.6||0|
|10||49||Norman, Josh CAR CB||4||41||34||-7|
|11||6||Johnson, David ARI RB||15||40.9||40.9||0|
|12||*||Mathieu, Tyrann ARI S||3||39||32.25||-6.75|
|13||*||Norman, Josh CAR CB||1||38.75||31.75||-7|
|14||*||Newman, Terence MIN CB||10||38.7||31.2||-7.5|
|15||*||Smith, Jacquies TBB DE||2||38.5||31.25||-7.25|
|16||9||Manning, Eli NYG QB||8||38||38||0|
|17||10||Rawls, Thomas SEA RB||11||37.5||37.5||0|
|18||*||Lowery, Dwight IND S||3||37.5||29.75||-7.75|
|19||*||Graham, Brandon PHI LB||9||37.5||31.25||-6.25|
|20||46||Branch, Andre JAC DE||14||37.45||34.45||-3|
|21||11||Freeman, Devonta ATL RB||3||37.3||37.3||0|
|22||12||Benjamin, Travis CLE WR||2||37.2||37.2||0|
|31||16||Newton, Cam CAR QB||13||36.14||36.14||0|
|32||17||Mariota, Marcus TEN QB||13||35.92||35.92||0|
|33||18||Cousins, Kirk WAS QB||15||35.86||35.86||0|
|34||19||Miller, Lamar RB||7||35.6||35.6||0|
|35||20||McCown, Josh CLE QB||5||35.48||35.48||0|
*MFL does not retroactively calculate high scoring weeks after rules changes and I couldn’t be bothered to work out the new rankings for some of the defensive players exactly. These performances would all be outside of the top 50.
With the old scoring, 5 of the top 20 individual performances were offensive players. With the new scoring 12 of the top 20 are offensive players. There is much more of a balance between the two and you have as much chance of a ridiculous game from a QB ruining your day as a huge performance from a defensive player.
I dunno, I’ve lost the will to live now. Looks alright to me.
Who Got Screwed?
Come on, this is why we’re here. Couldn’t have planned it better.
|The People’s Republic of the 4th Dynmension: Dynasty of Sadness||+86.5|
|East Flanders Dungeoneers||+37.75|
|Here Comes The Brees||+8.5|
|Kelkowski Don’t Play By No Dynarules||-9.5|
|Champions of the Sun||-11|
*This only includes any top 200 defenders on your roster because I’m lazy.