Player Stat Visualizations

The next step in the evolution of statistical visualizations is player graphs. Starting with quarterbacks, I've created a few different versions. For now, each one is based on Expected Points Added (EPA) per Game.

The first tab looks at each QB's season, game-by-game. Opponents are labeled for each game. You can select any combination of QBs in any year back to 2000. Use the search tool in the filter to quickly find any QB by his last name. The gray bands mark +/- 1 standard deviation. The dark vertical line represents the per game average for the selected season.

The second tab repeats the same information--a single QB season--but in a different format. A series of line graphs are presented instead of bar graphs. Standard deviation bands and average lines are also included.

The third tab lets you plot selected QBs' performance by year on the same plot. Instead of a series of panes, there is one field on which all the chosen QBs can be compared. You'd think this would be the best way to compare players, but it turns out to be unwieldy, especially when you select more than a couple QBs. I've added WPA per game to this tab too.

One idea is to arrange each QB's seasons from best to worst, which creates a smoother, less erratic plot. Fangraphs' WARGraphs feature is what I have in mind. I haven't figured a good way how to do that with the Tableau software yet. It might not be possible without some back-end coding.

The fourth tab plots QB performance by year, but on separate panes, similar to the second tab. You'll understand what I mean when you take a look at all the graphs.

I'm just experimenting for now, and I'm looking for feedback and more suggestions before I settle on any of the versions.

CAUTION: Do not view the graphs if you have something important to do at work today or if you have an exam later. Next thing you'll realize is that an hour of your time has slipped by while you mix and match QBs to compare.

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7 Responses to “Player Stat Visualizations”

  1. bigmouth says:

    That's just awesome!

  2. Ian B says:

    In my experience with web design, complicated graphs like these are rarely big hits. It's usually more successful to have, say, a player page with an interesting graph on it that's already set up, rather than a single page with a graph that can show anything.

    The show-anything graphs are often designed on the premise of: "throw everything in there and hope for the best." A more compelling graph requires a more focused story.

    As a side note, I have a friend who doesn't read any content on this blog, but somehow knows about and is obsessed with the WP graphs.

  3. Brian Burke says:

    These are a far cry from a 'show-anything' graph. It's just 1 stat (EPA), except on one tab which shows 2 (EPA + WPA). You can see them either by week or by year. Relatively simple, I think.

    ...And, you can always just select one QB at a time.

  4. Mike B says:

    I immediately went to Brady vs. Manning, just to confirm my bias that, indeed, 18 > 12.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I'm still hoping for RB EPA/ WPA to be split out into their receiving vs rushing contribution

  6. Tim says:

    It's a bit funny to show Brady's 2008 season as though it was a full season, when really it was about 5 plays. It seems like the graphs would be better overall if you only showed seasons where players started at least 50% of the games.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Really great graphs. I'd love to see EPA/P as well because I think it's more telling than the absolute numbers.

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