Sunday, August 24, 2008

2008 NFL Fantasy Football: Referee Choices

Let's discuss our recommendations for your fantasy football draft if you were playing in a fantasy football referee league.  I'm not sure how you would run a fantasy league for NFL referees, but maybe you would draft referees and then rank them by total penalties accepted per game, total penalty yards per game, average penalty yards per penalty, and home team win rate.  You should keep tabs all year long rather than have them compete head-to-head every week because the NFL does not tell you which referees will have a bye week.  That makes it difficult to know which referee to choose (unless you let each team choose 2 referees and hope one of the two doesn't have a bye week).

Our recommendations for the 2008 season.  These predictions might not come true, so try not to laugh too hard when you look at these at the end of the season.

Accepted penalties per game:
1. Ron Winter (two-time league leader!)
2. Tony Corrente
3. Jerome Boger
4. Ed Hochuli
sleeper pick: Walt Anderson (unimpressive in 2006 but 3rd in 2007)

Accepted penalty yards per game:
1. Ron Winter
2. Tony Corrente
3. Terry McAulay
4. John Parry
sleeper pick: Ed Hochuli (league-leader in 2006 but mediocre in 2007)

Average penalty yards per penalty:
1. Gerry Austin (two-time league leader!)
2. Scott Green
3. Terry McAulay
4. John Parry
sleeper pick: Ed Hochuli (big year in 2007 but mediocre in 2006)

Home win rate: this one is very hard to predict because the 2006 and 2007 rates did not match up well by referee.  A great deal probably depends on how the NFL assigns the teams for the referee's games.  It's as if the quality of the teams playing have more influence on the game's result than which referee was assigned!

Here are some laughable wild guesses:
1. John Parry
2. Terry McAulay
3. Jerome Boger

Accepted Penalty Yards per week, 2007 season

Time to get ready for the 2008 NFL Season.  Let's take a short look at the penalty yards accepted per week in the 2007 season.  I expected to see lots of penalty yards the first two weeks as the teams get out of pre-season form and then perhaps less penalties toward the end of the season in case players by then have figured out how the refs call the games.

But actually, the numbers show the biggest weeks for accepted penalty yards were in the middle of the season -- week 8 and week 9.  Although the lowest accepted penalty yards were close to the end of the season (weeks 14 and 15), the final week (week 17) did have a bunch of penalty yards.  Maybe just random statistical variation because it is such a small sample size.  Or maybe some influence of starters resting in the last week and using players with less practice/experience? 

1: 89.6
2: 96.3
3: 84.6
4: 87.1
5: 91.2
6: 91.4
7: 87.7
8: 106.8
9: 112.0
10: 97.4
11: 94.3
12: 79.2
13: 96.1
14: 76.3
15: 72.3
16: 81.1
17: 92.0