As we enter the fantasy football off-season, the dynasty community shifts its attention to the upcoming NFL Combine the end of February, and the draft in April. For people particularly into scouting and the numbers side of things, they may find themselves rather awkwardly spending the regular season looking forward to this time. All the football, none of the weekly disappointment! The running backs on your roster might even go a week without injuring their knees and hamstrings.
While the Combine provides us with a wealth of new data, anyone who studies player metrics will inevitably face a troubling fact: they don’t seem very good at predicting success. This is at odds with the common-sense idea that physical skills obviously matter for being a good football player (Christine Michael notwithstanding).
Given that, I’m going to try to explain how it’s possible that physical metrics DO matter even though the data doesn’t really show it. I’ll need to use a bit of math and statistics to do so, but I’ll try to keep it simple and minimize the jargon.
Models and Omitted Variable Bias