Mid-Season WPA All Stars: Defense

It's just past the halfway point in the season, and we recently took a look at the top offensive players in terms of Win Probability Added (WPA). Now it’s time to look at the top defenders. Instead of WPA, we’ll use +WPA, explained here.

Let’s start with DEs. Kyle Vanden Bosch leads all ends with a +WPA of 1.37. He’s credited with 37 total tackles, giving him a tackle factor of 1.42—meaning he has 42% more of his team tackles than you’d expect from his position. Vanden Bosch racked up 5 sacks, 1 pass defended, 10 QB hits, 9 tackles for losses, and a forced fumble. His biggest play was at the end of the now infamous Redskins game in which he caused Rex Grossman’s fumble returned by teammate Ndomukong Suh for a touchdown.

Jared Allen is the runner-up so far DE. The party line is that he’s having an off-year with “only” 4 sacks, but that’s not all a DE does. Allen has 15 QB hits, often forcing hurried passes or even interceptions. He also has 26 total tackles, 3 passes defended, 2 tackles for losses and an interception. Justin Tuck also deserves a mention with his insanely high +EPA. Tuck’s best plays have, unfortunately for him, come in low leverage situations. Sorry Justin, no Advanced NFL Stats sweatshirt for you.

Darnell Dockett is the top DT so far with 1.25 +WPA. His biggest play was a forced fumble returned for a TD in the Cardinals’ upset of the Saints. Dockett has 31 total takles for a 1.44 TF, including 2 sacks and 6 for losses.

Behind Dockett is Haloti Ngata, whose name is fun to type. Ngata has a +WPA of 0.91 so far, a TF of 1.86, 5 sacks, 1 pass defended, 9 QB hits, and 9 tackles for losses.

LB Lawrence Timmons has been brutalizing offenses all season. He tops all LBs with a 1.95 +WPA. He has 2 interceptions and a forced fumble, plus 3 sacks, a 1.81 TF, 5 QB hits, and 8 tackles for losses. His biggest play isn’t one of his 3 turnovers or anything else spectacular. Late in the 4th quarter in the Steelers’ week 1 game against the Falcons, Timmons dropped RB Michael Turner for a 3 yard loss on a 1st and 10 on the Steelers’ 14. Why was this such a crucial play? It helped force the Falcons to kick a tying field goal rather than scoring a go-ahead TD.

Paris Lenon of the Cardinals is second to Timmons with 1.43 +WPA. He has a 1.40 TF, 1 sack, 4 passes defended, 1 QB hit, a forced fumble and 2 interceptions.

LaRon (don’t forget to capitalize the ‘R’) Landry ranks as the top S with 1.71 +WPA. Landry is cleaning up the mess the rest of the Redskins are leaving behind, totalling 76 tackles for a 1.81 TF. Add 1 sack, 7 passes defended, 6 tackles for losses, 5 QB hits, a forced fumble and an interception, and you have one monster safety.

The next closest S is Michael Griffin of the Titans, who’s a distant second with 1.16 +WPA.

DeAngelo (don’t forget to capitalize the ‘A’) Hall is the top CB with a nice even +2.00 WPA. Nearly half of that is thanks to his 4-interception game against Jay Cutler and the Bears, but even without that game, he’d still rank 3rd among CBs. Hall has 63 tackles, which is not such a good thing for cornerbacks, but +WPA only measures tackles that are defensive ‘victories,’ He has 9 passes defended, 2 tackles for losses, 1 forced fumble, and 6 interceptions. He also had a fumble return for a TD on that silly play right before halftime against the Cowboys. The problem with Hall is that he appears to be a gambler. His Success Rate is low at 35%, suggesting his name is very often being called out in the play-by-play after successful pass completions.

Still, his +WPA is so high, the gambles may be worth it.

The next CB is a distant second. Charles Woodson has a 1.31 +WPA. Woodson and Hall have nearly identical +EPA numbers, meaning Hall's best plays have come in high leverage situations.

Those are your WPA All Stars on Defense for the first half of 2010.

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6 Responses to “Mid-Season WPA All Stars: Defense”

  1. Anonymous says:

    "LeRon (don’t forget to capitalize the ‘R’) Landry ranks as the top S with 1.71 +WPA."

    Don't forget to spell his name correctly.

  2. Borat says:


    "Don't forget to spell his name correctly."

    Foolow the device of Mr, Unanimous, Brain.

    Mr. Ngata's first name is Haloti not Hiloti.

    You should higher a etodir. Didnt you mama teach you to spel?

  3. Brian Burke says:

    Sorry. My dad never checked my homework when I was a kid.

  4. Jeff says:


    I think you make up these WPA numbers to solace yourself and fellow Ravens fans [like me] about our disappointing efficiency numbers. Oh, and to ingratiate yourself to the lovely folks over at Redskins Insider. ;-)

    There, you needed someone else to impugn your character/intelligence/contribution-to-society, right? :-)

  5. Brian Burke says:

    Damn. Cat's out of the bag. :)

  6. eric says:

    monkey's out of the bottle

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