Chat with KC Joyner
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPN Insider KC Joyner, will be here to answer your NFL questions.
Joyner, aka The Football Scientist, uses game film to track, tabulate and analyze nearly every measurable statistic in an NFL game. He is a regular Insider contributor and has his own website at thefootballscientist.com.
Send your questions now and join KC Thursday at 4 p.m. ET!
KC Joyner (4:00 PM)
Good afternoon! The TFS news in a nutshell - core passing metrics are available in ESPN's Fantasy Football Magazine, which is on newsstands now. The Scientific Football 2009 Lab Notes update with the AFC North O line run blocking metrics were recently sent out to SF 2009 pre-order customers. Today's NY Times Fifth Down blog post is on why the Browns should be much improved in 2009. Now let's talk some football!
KC, in your last chat you mentioned that JaMarcus Russell is "a much better QB than he is given credit for". I agree. What do your metrics tell you about his progress last year, particularly his play towards the end of the season?
KC Joyner (4:01 PM)
Where Russell did well was in bad decisions. He started off last season quite well in that category (so much so that I did an article for Insider on him) and even though he struggled a bit there towards the end, he still fared favorably in that category.
Big Tom Callahan (Tampa)
KC-Subscribed to the service last year and won two of my three leagues. I've got the number one pick in one of my leagues, and I'm trying to decide between AD or Turner. What's your opinion?
KC Joyner (4:02 PM)
I'd go AP. As much as I like Turner, I think that teams are going to be able to reign Matt Ryan in a bit better this year. That could mean fewer leads for Turner to take advantage of and gives AP the edge.
eric ny [via mobile]
seeing the problems the steelers have on the o-line, why dont they get b.waters from kc? has waters play slipped or are the steelers just not looking
KC Joyner (4:04 PM)
I haven't completed the Chiefs metrics yet (AFC West looks to be up next after I finish the AFC South next week). I just completed the Pittsburgh O line metrics and found that all of their linemen were above the 80% POA mark and most were close to 90 than 80. Their run blocking should be even better this year if their starters can stay healthy and gel, so I don't think the Steelers believe they need a lot of help there.
Hey what is an email address that you respond too? I've tried the one on your website and never heard a response.
KC Joyner (4:05 PM)
Send me a line at email@example.com. I'll do my level best to respond!
Wes (Raleigh, NC)
KC, I just checked out your NFC East O-line metrics and am surprised at Jamaal Jackson's performance. The general sentiment among Eagles' supporters was that he had a down year; does your scouting eye agree with your numbers that suggest otherwise?
KC Joyner (4:06 PM)
My numbers had Jackson with a 89.3% POA win rate, a number that is superb (especially for a center). I don't believe he gave up many sacks, either, so I don't see him as a weak link on that front.
2 questions I have been dying for you to answer...Is Darren Sproles better than Reggie Bush? and Is Jared Gaither the next Jonathan Ogden??? Thanks!!
KC Joyner (4:08 PM)
Give Sproles a full-time role like Bush and I'd answer yes on #1. As far as Gaither goes, he's got the physical talent but he needs to be more consistent. A 82.7% POA win rate isn't good enough to claim the mantle as the next Ogden.
Matt (Rochester NY)
Hi KC - Big Fan; like the Cedric Benson post you had on 5th down blog. Do you have the running Metrics for a similar analysis on Ronnie Brown vs. Ricky Williams? Some people swear the Ricky was better but it always seemed like Ronnie was the better back to me (even though he was coming off an injury).
KC Joyner (4:09 PM)
Thanks for the kudos! I've been asked the Ronnie v Ricky run metrics question a couple of times now, so I'm going to have to run those numbers. Shoot me this question next week and I'll have the answer for you!
how was trent edwards' poor decision rate last year?
KC Joyner (4:09 PM)
It was 1.8%, which was good enough to rank him 5th in the league.
Wayne (Ann Arbor, MI)
Hey scientist. Do you see the Lions being the same kinda team this year as they have been for say um, the past 50 years?
KC Joyner (4:11 PM)
Wayne, being a native Michigander, I can remember when the Lions were a solid team (still can't forget that 1980 loss to the Bucs that cost them the division title), but those teams had a lot more talent than this Lions club. I've not seen a roster so depleted of talent in all of the time I have been doing tape breakdowns (which is going on 7 years now). They'll be better this year but I wouldn't count on them for any more than 4 wins.
Bill (Denton, Tx)
Hey KC, how do you think Roy Williams (Dallas Cowboys) will perform this year as the No. 1 WR? Does his past performances in Detroit give any insight into how he will perform this year?
KC Joyner (4:13 PM)
Roy will be improved if only because his numbers were so low last year because of injury (he was near the bottom of the league in YPA). I don't think he'll reach his top Detroit level performance because that came in a season where he had Mike Martz pushing him hard on a consistent basis. As much as I like Jason Garrett's playcalling ability, I don't think he has it in him to push Williams that hard.
Hey KC, do you see Knowshon making a big impact this season? Will he be even close to enough to get the Broncos, 6, 7, 8 wins? Thanks!
KC Joyner (4:14 PM)
If Knowshon could play defensive line or linebacker, I'd like Denver's win chances much better. He's really good and will be quite productive, but that defense is simply abysmal.
KC, we had a bit of an argument about Ellis Hobbs last year, but now that he's out of the picture how to you see the Pats secondary working out? Do you think guys like Wheatley, Wilhite and Butler will start over the veterans such as Springs?
KC Joyner (4:16 PM)
Jack, I would be quite surprised if Springs didn't land and keep the starting spot all year as long as he is healthy. Over the six years I've been doing this, Springs has the best cumulative YPA of any CB in the league. He's the best veteran CB the Pats have picked up (and they've racked up a ton of vets at that position over the years).
dp (Lincoln, NE)
Tony Romo is labeled as turnover-prone, but his number in your near interception stat was really low. Explain. How do you see this offense changing (if at all) this season, or what would you change? I think Romo's at his best making throws to spots that aren't typically areas wr1s cross thru.
KC Joyner (4:18 PM)
Romo is rare in that his bad decision totals have varied quite a lot over the years. He did quite well in his first year and has been up and down since then.
john buffalo [via mobile]
why do most people think reed is better than polomalu? its absurd! troy hits and gets int. reed does NOT play the run or hit. he plays fs liked a cb
KC Joyner (4:19 PM)
John, you are correct in pointing out that the big difference between the two is that Reed plays FS like a CB. It is those big return plays that give Reed the edge in the public's eye.
Derek Anderson seems like the prototypical quarterback for the Browns. Tall, built, and a pretty good arm. What is it about him that is preventing him from being the clear cut starter over Brady Quinn?
KC Joyner (4:21 PM)
JJ, my take here is that Anderson could be a really good starter but last year he couldn't handle the pressure put on him by the coaching staff, media and fans. He isn't the savior type and to ask him to do so is something he might not be capable of.
Pete (Portsmouth, NH)
Hey KC, speaking of New England secondary, do you like Leigh Bodden? I've heard really good things about him but I really haven't seen him play much. Think he'll contribute this year and maybe get an extension?
KC Joyner (4:23 PM)
I didn't like the Leigh Bodden in Detroit last year, but Night Train Lane would have been hard pressed to play well in that situation, so I can't hold it against him much. When Bodden was on in Cleveland, he was capable of posting YPAs in the 5-6 range. New England will find ways to put him back in more favorable coverage situations than he was in last year, so I think he'll have a good chance at playing up there for a few years.
KC, FF question: how do tony gonzalez and jay cutler/new offensive tackles effect the value of michael Turner and matt forte respectively....or in other words, if you had to pick from the 2 in fantasy who would you take??
KC Joyner (4:24 PM)
Close call but as it stands right now, I'd take Turner because of the Cutler factor. Cutler will want to throw the ball a ton and it could eat into Forte's totals.
Chris (Baltimore, MD)
Does Ted Ginn appear to be ready for a good year? Possibly over a 1000 yards?
KC Joyner (4:26 PM)
He's got a strong possibility of that. In fact, I can't understand why he isn't getting more overall play. He posted an 8.8 YPA total last year, and once you get in the 9 range, you are in the top 1/3 of the league (if not the top 1/4).
Cleveland's front office seems like it doesn't care about winning anymore, and that every year is a rebuilding year. Do you think it would have made any sense to trade away your top 2 skill players, with already one of them (Winslow) gone?
KC Joyner (4:28 PM)
I've written about Cleveland's front office repeatedly in the Scientific Football series and most of the essays had one common theme - the Browns lack patience. It's not that the front office doesn't want to win, but rather that as soon as something bad happens on the field, they want to make wholesale changes to keep their fan base happy. With all due respect to the Browns fans (some of the most loyal in all the league), I hope their current front office doesn't pay any whit to public opinion and simply makes the best moves for the team.
I'm not too sure what the Eagles are thinking getting Hobbs...is he looking at more of a kick return role, but then again they have Jackson, so will he be cool playing nickel or dime when he started for a 16-0 team?? He seems like he has a bit of an ego.
KC Joyner (4:29 PM)
They may be thinking that they already helped a NE CB improve his totals (Samuel had the best season of his career last year) and maybe they can recapture that magic with Hobbs.
Marian Hossa ((Leaving Detroit))
$62.8 million. Do the metrics say I scored big in Chicago?
KC Joyner (4:30 PM)
I hadn't heard about this until now, but assuming it's true, I say good riddance. The guy did absolutely nothing for the Wings against the Penguins. Heck, Pittsburgh ought to put his name on the Cup for as much as he helped them.
Mitch (Gainesville, FL)
I accidentally drafted Deion Branch way too early in an ESPN league, what do you see out of Branch this season?
KC Joyner (4:30 PM)
You'll be OK with him if you are in a PPR league. If not, he'll be a good spot starter and not much else.
do you think t.o.'s skills are diminished or his stats fell due to qb play?
KC Joyner (4:31 PM)
Diminishing skills. The Boys had to use all kinds of playcalling tricks to get Owens open last year. The Bills will still get plenty of usage out of him but he isn't the wideout he used to be.
Craig G. (Fairfield, California)
Hey K.C., I enjoy all of your work. In relation to fantasy football, which statistic(s) do you consider most when drafting receivers?
KC Joyner (4:33 PM)
I wrote a bit about this for ESPN's Fantasy Football Mag (check out the section in back). In a nutshell, for PPR leagues you are looking primarily for attempt volume. In performance leagues, volume is important but you will also want to look at vertical productivity (a metric that is covered in detail in the back of the mag metric section).
If Joe Flacco endures a sophomore slump, what are the chances of seeing Troy Smith at QB?
KC Joyner (4:34 PM)
I would be entirely shocked if Smith came in as QB. He's a talented player and is good enough to be the starter but everything about Flacco's approach to the game last year said he has the potential to be a great one. When you've got a guy like that, you stick with him even through some rough patches.
How do you think the Texans will do this year?
KC Joyner (4:36 PM)
You caught me at a perfect time, as I am in the midst of completing the Texans breakdowns. A quick review - their offense is elite caliber and their defense is a lot better than generally thought. I've got the Texans as a dark horse division winner.
Kim Deal (CA)
KC-J! Love the chat! I just don't buy that Brady will come back after a major knee injury and play like a #1 or 2 QB (fantasy...or otherwise for that matter)! You got any metrics on QBs returning from such injuries?
KC Joyner (4:38 PM)
Glad you're enjoying the chat! I don't have specific metrics on QBs returning from injury but I can say that there are repeated instances of QBs not getting back to full strength from injuries until two seasons after they occur. The Pats also have a terrific run blocking O line (they may end up ranked as the #1 unit in that regard in my metric overview), so they won't need Brady's passing to be the centerpiece of the O. I've got him for 25-30 TD passes.
Pat (Fort Morgan, CO)
What about Shaun Hill? Anything encouraging for Niner fans?
KC Joyner (4:39 PM)
A 7.0 YPA with the wide receiving corps he had last year is quite encouraging. I'd like to see them go with him for a full season and see what he's capable of over 16 weeks.
What Marian forgot to tell you is that it was a 12 year deal. So Chi will be paying him for a long time.
KC Joyner (4:40 PM)
They'll be paying for it for a long time in more ways than one! Pittsburgh didn't miss him last year and the Wings could have done just as well in the Cup Finals with just about anyone else.
Ryan (San Diego)
So we can cross off Tennessee as a contender right? The Chargers will definitely bump them off when you watch film on them soon? Make sure to watch film with Merriman too
KC Joyner (4:42 PM)
No way I'm counting out Tennessee as a contender. They've got far too much talent and will be a Wild Card at the very least. And I'll definitely let you know when I've hit the Chargers on tape!
Chareth Cutestory (OC)
How many Giants receivers will have over 40 catches?
KC Joyner (4:42 PM)
I'd say Smith, Hixon and Nicks will all top the 40 catch mark.
Big Skins fan here, tell me Jason Campbell will come out of his shell this year...I'm sick of this team playing solid defense and not putting up points...Speaking of solid D, what do you think of Orakpo? Looks like an absolute beast to me!
KC Joyner (4:44 PM)
Geoff, the issue in Washington isn't Campbell - it's Zorn. There were many instances last year that showed the team simply didn't believe in him. I also think he didn't fill the role as OC very well, at least not from a vertical pass standpoint.
If Favre doesn't sign, who would you chose as the starting QB for the Vikings...Jackson or Sage?
KC Joyner (4:45 PM)
Long time chat readers know that I've been on the Jackson bandwagon for a while now. Sage is good at vertical passes (he was 2nd in the league in that category in 2008) but he makes far too many mistakes. If Jackson can simply carry over his late season 2008 performance into this year, he's the better pick now and long-term.
KC, first chat I've made in ages. I'll ask my usual question: do you have any breakdown of QB bad decision%? Also, do you think Matt Ryan facing quality 3-4 defenses for the first time (I don't count SD last year) will affect the Falcons' playoff chances?
KC Joyner (4:47 PM)
I do have the bad decision totals. They are also in ESPN's Fantasy Football Mag on page 136. I am with you on Ryan having something of a sophomore slump. He'll still be good but he'll see things this year he hasn't seen before and will struggle with them at first.
Kwame F (NY)
When you named the Jets the best Oline from last year, did you factor in the defenses they played? Seems to me the Giants played much better front 7s (Steelers, Ravens, Cowboys)
KC Joyner (4:48 PM)
I did take that into account but I thought the Giants and Jets had very similar schedule strengths. Miami's run D was much better than is generally thought and NE also has a number of quality front seven players.
Thanks! I agree on Jackson, but why then do you think so many people are so critical of him? We knew he was raw coming out of college and would take some time...
KC Joyner (4:49 PM)
Jackson himself admitted that the pressure got to him and that's part of why people are critical of him. It's also that he had vertical pass issues a couple of years back, although a lot of that had more to do with Troy Williamson than it did Jackson.
How do you see the Jags doing this year?
KC Joyner (4:51 PM)
A healthy O line will make all of the difference. They are playing in what could be the most underrated division in the NFL, as Houston is much improved and Indy/Ten are both really strong as well. I see at least 7 wins but it is going to take the ball bouncing right for them to get to a double digit win total.
AFC South (USA )
Who's the best running back in my division?
KC Joyner (4:52 PM)
I'll take Chris Johnson at the moment but if Steve Slaton can get his endurance level up (he hit the rookie wall last year before getting a second wind), I might take him.
KC, just how bad will Oakland be this year?
KC Joyner (4:54 PM)
I wouldn't write off Oakland completely. I've mentioned how good Russell has been at times. Their O line is good at run blocking (although replacing Grove with Satele will be a detriment) and their D can cover with the best of them. They also play in a bad division, so that helps. Six wins is the benchmark I'm looking at but 8 wouldn't totally surprise me.
What kind of impact do you see Jeremy Maclin having on the Eagles this year?
KC Joyner (4:55 PM)
The good news for Maclin is that the Eagles won't need him to be a savior. They'll need him to run some 9 routes and stretch the D. He's quite capable of that, so look for about 30-40 catches for 400-500 yards.
KC, I'm not sold on the slump theory overall; I think Ryan will struggle early, but I also think that having TG will force either a) a rush LB to drop in coverage on TG's side, or b) a safety to come closer in coverage...either way, that opens up 1) single coverage on Roddy, or 2) single coverage on Douglas/Jenkins in the slot. Plus if the Falcons use Norwood more, that's 5 potential outlets for Ryan (or 4 in a 2WR set). I think by midseason he hits a new level. Thanks for your answers!
KC Joyner (4:56 PM)
I'm with on Ryan being improved by midseason. He'll adapt to what defenses do pretty quickly if last year is any indication.
IF Chris Williams and Orlando Pace stay healthy this coming season the Bears wil have a top __ offense...
KC Joyner (4:57 PM)
If you are just talking yardage, they will be at least a top 15 team and a strong contender for top 10. Their passing attack isn't quite strong enough for me to go any higher than that, as their WR corps leaves something to be desired.
When do fantasy football chats start to get rolling?
KC Joyner (4:58 PM)
Probably in the next couple of weeks. Fantasy football stuff always starts to pick up after the July 4 holiday.
Eric (Long Island, NY)
Hi KC! I was wondering if you could give me your top 5 picks for a keeper fantasy league?
KC Joyner (4:59 PM)
I'm still finishing up my fantasy material but I can tell you that I'd put AP, Ryan and Forte at the top of any keeper list.
Love the stat stuff....info you can really sink your teeth into! Can you speak a little about Addai (fantasy perspective)? It just seems that D. Brown will start sooner than later.
KC Joyner (5:02 PM)
Thanks! The Colts are in transition in many ways and one of them is their O line. They ran a lot fewer slant/stretch plays last year and that is Addai's forte. That reason as much as any other gives me pause for picking him high. Well, it's been a fun hour but Mrs. Scientist has dinner almost ready so I've got to get to the dinner table! Before I go, I should mention that you can follow my work on Twitter at kcjoynertfs. Hope to see you all next week!