Hansen's Offensive All-Americans

December 12, 2016

The AFCA All-American team was released today, so I figured it would be as good a time as any for me to release what I'm going to call my All-American team.


The way I determined the All-American team was through a stat I'm calling Yards Above Average Player (YAAP). The calculation has a few steps. First I calculated a player's Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt (ANY/A), which is:


[Yards + 20*(Touchdowns) - 45*(Turnovers)]



From there, I calculated how much more efficient each player was than the average player at that stat. For rushing attempts, the national average is 4.91 ANY/A, receiving is 11.63 ANY/A, passing is 6.63 ANY/A, punt returns are 9.87 ANY/A, and kickoff returns are 23.16 ANY/A. So for a running back whose rushing ANY/A is 6.5, their Efficiency Above Average (EAA) would be 6.5 - 4.91 = 1.09 ANY/A. If you multiply this value by their total number of carries, you get their total Yards Above Average Player.


In other words, how much more did this player contribute cumulatively over the course of the season than a player performing at the national  average would have? This way, players are given boosts for both quality (a high average efficiency) and quantity (a lot of touches). I'm going to list the Top 20 performers in several categories:


  • Quarterbacks

    • Passing Only

    • Passing + Rushing

  • Running Backs

    • Rushing Only

    • All-Purpose Yards

  • Wide Receivers

    • Receiving Only

    • All-Purpose Yards

  • Return Specialists



Passing Only

 Chase Burton from Franklin was the most valuable passer this season, followed closely by Broc Rutter (only a freshman!) from North Central. There's a lot of familiar names on this list, and a lot of QB's that lead their teams to the playoffs.


Passing + Rushing


 When rushing yards and touchdowns (and thus sacks) are included, the rankings switch up a bit, with three dynamic dual-threat quarterbacks overtaking the top spots.

Running Backs 


Rushing Only



The most valuable running backs in the country were Joey Valdivia and Dayton Winn. You may have noticed that Dayton's backfield mate Seth Peters was the fourth-most valuable quarterback in the nation, making them by far the most valuable backfield duo in the country. Some familiar names from the IIAC, OAC, ASC, and WIAC might fall a little lower on this list than you would expect, but these numbers are not adjusted based on the quality of opponents faced. 


All-Purpose Yards



Most running backs are not very explosive receivers (relative to wide receivers). So much like immobile QB's (whose sack numbers count against their rushing value), a lot of running backs' total YAAP went down when including all-purpose yards. Those who received the biggest boosts from including receiving were Nick Savant of Muhlenberg, Trevor Heitland of Coe, and Roger Walker of Marietta.

Wide Receivers


Receiving Only



The most valuable receiver, by A MILE, is Koree Reed from Hartwick. Several other usual suspects, Darius Adams, Brandon Shed, and Dan Arnold, round out the Top 4. One nice thing about using YAAP to measure player value is that receivers, running backs, and quarterbacks are all on relatively the same scale, just like how most measurements of WAR in baseball have a position adjustment. So you could say with relative certainty that Koree Reed was more important to his team than any single running back was to theirs.


All-Purpose Yards



Not much changes here, but the impact of great returners like Evan Clark, or big-play threats like Alex Pasiewicz can be seen. Koree Reed though, still laps half of the Top 20.

Return Specialists



Alex Bell from Hardin-Simmons was the most valuable return specialist in the country this year. Which should be no surprise to anyone. He led the country in return average (37.6 yards/ret) and return touchdowns (3). An All-American caliber return man like Alexs Bell or Pasiewicz is worth nearly as much as an All-Conference caliber running back or receiver, despite touching the ball way fewer times per game.

I hope you enjoyed this list. I plan on putting out a similar list for defensive players soon (read: once I figure out how I want to quantify "value" for different positions). Feel free to share away on Twitter or Facebook.

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