The Bills 2013 offseason and sabermetrics

Hello Rumblers,

As Free Agency approaches, I have been thinking about Russ Brandon making comments about using analytics and sabermetrics to acquire football players.Now, admittedly, I don't know much about metrics when it comes to football (or baseball for that matter), but I am curious to see if the Bills approach free agency with this mindset.

Using Football Outsiders as a guide, I highlighted a player that might interest the Bills during Free Agency period.Now, I know Football Outsiders itself carries a bit of skepticism, and I am quite bit of a skeptic myself. So please, don't argue with me as if I buy into these rankings wholesale, because I don't. But I am very interested by whether OBD follows through on whether they use sabermetric principles this offseason, and hope to have a discussion about it.

Brandon Gibson, WR, St. Louis

If the Bills are intending on using a sabermetric approach, Gibson should be a target in Free Agency. Gibson had a fine season in 2012-2013 (16 games played, 13 started, 691 yards, 51 receptions, 5 Tds). However using metric-oriented statistics such as Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA) and Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement (DYAR) reveal intriguing results about Gibson. These statistics reflect the 2012-2013 season.

The definition of DVOA, according to Football Outsiders: “This number represents value, per play, over an average WR in the same game situations. The more positive the DVOA rating, the better the player's performance.”

DVOA measures not just yardage, but yardage towards a first down: Five yards on third-and-4 are worth more than five yards on first-and-10 and much more than five yards on third-and-12. Red zone plays are worth more than other plays. Performance is also adjusted for the quality of the opponent.

DVOA is a percentage, so a team with a DVOA of 10.0% is 10 percent better than the average team, and a quarterback with a DVOA of -20.0% is 20 percent worse than the average quarterback. Because DVOA measures scoring, defenses are better when they are negative. ”

Gibson scored a 22.7%, which is ranked 11th among wide receivers, ahead of Calvin Johnson, Andre Johnson, and Wes Welker.

The definition of DYAR, according to Football Outsiders: “ This gives the value of the performance on plays where this WR caught the ball, compared to replacement level, adjusted for situation and opponent and then translated into yardage”

In other words, DYAR is a statistic based on the players cumulative value compared to a “replacement” alternative.

Gibson scored a 228, which is ranked 21st in the league in this category for the 2012-2013 year, ahead of AJ Green, Victor Cruz, and Brandon Marshall

You can read more about DYAR and DVOA at

Anyways, I am posting this to spark a discussion in two areas:

  1. Knowing this info about Gibson, do you believe that the Bills will pursue him in Free Agency?

  2. What other players do you think the Bills could pursue in Free Agency, using a sabermetric approach?

Thanks for reading!

Just another great fan opinion shared on the pages of

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