The most avid consumers of advanced football stats instantly recognize terms such as YPA, DVOA, aDOT and YAC. To other football fans, this hodgepodge of acronyms is unrecognizable. You don’t need to know all the advanced stats in order to enjoy football, but if you want a greater understanding of a complicated game in which 22 players are trying to perform their unique assignments on every play, advanced stats can help bring order to the chaos.
If you want to learn more about advanced football stats and further enhance your enjoyment of the world’s greatest sport, we’ve got you covered. This glossary explains some terms that might be second nature to the nerdiest of the football nerds but might not be familiar to other fans. Let’s take a closer look at Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA).
How to Use DVOA in Fantasy Football
DVOA, or Defense-adjusted Value Over Average, is a widely recognized statistic that measures the efficiency of football teams, in terms of both their offense and defense. The purpose of the DVOA is to provide a more accurate picture of a team’s performance than simply looking at the score of a game or the total yards a team gains. Introduced by Football Outsiders, DVOA has become increasingly popular among football fans and analysts alike.
What is DVOA?
In its simplest form, DVOA measures a team’s success on each play against the league average success on that play, adjusted for the strength of the opponent. DVOA is expressed as a percentage, with 0% meaning the league average and a positive percentage indicating the team is better than average, and a negative percentage indicating the team is worse than average.
How is DVOA Calculated?
To calculate DVOA, Football Outsiders uses a complex algorithm that takes into account three main factors:
Value of Yards
Different yards on the field are analyzed based on their importance to the game. For example, gaining five yards on 3rd and 4 is much more valuable than gaining five yards on 3rd and 10.
Success is defined as gaining at least a certain percentage of yards needed for a first down on first down, half the yards needed on second down, and all the remaining yards on third and fourth downs.
Adjusted for Situations
The efficiency of plays is adjusted based on game situation, such as the score and time remaining.
Once these factors have been taken into account, the DVOA calculation compares each team’s performance to the league average performance on each type of play. The resulting DVOA scores can then be compared between teams to get a better sense of how each team is performing relative to the rest of the league.
Why DVOA is Important for Fantasy Football Strategy
There are many reasons why DVOA is a useful statistic for football fans and analysts.
DVOA provides a much more nuanced look at a team’s performance than traditional stats like total yards or points scored. It takes into account the importance of each play and is adjusted for game situations, giving a more accurate picture of how well a team is performing.
DVOA allows for comparisons between teams, adjusted for the strength of their opponents. This helps to account for the fact that some teams may have an easier or harder schedule than others, and provides a more accurate picture of how teams stack up against each other.
DVOA can be used to identify areas where teams are particularly strong or weak. For example, a team with a high offensive DVOA score may have an extremely efficient passing game or a strong offensive line. Conversely, a team with a low defensive DVOA score may struggle to stop the run or be weak in the secondary. This can be a valuable tool for coaches, players, and analysts alike in identifying areas for improvement or weaknesses to exploit.
How to Interpret DVOA Rankings and Metrics
DVOA rankings can be found on websites such as Football Outsiders and ESPN. On Football Outsiders, the DVOA rankings are broken down by offense, defense, and special teams.
The rankings are presented in a table format, with each team’s overall DVOA percentage listed along with their ranking relative to the rest of the league. The table also includes each team’s offensive, defensive, and special teams DVOA rankings.
It’s important to consider sample size when looking at DVOA rankings. A team or player’s DVOA percentage may fluctuate over the course of the season, so it’s important to look at trends over multiple games or the entire season.
AI was used as a resource for this piece.