Prospect Success Indicator: Official Database and Calculations

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So you heard me talk about #PSI on Twitter and you’re probably wondering.

  1. What does PSI stand for?
  2. How is it calculated?
  3. How do I use it for both Pre and Post NFL/Fantasy Rookie Draft?
  4. How does it stack up against Industry Expert Rankings of the time?

What does PSI stand for?

To answer your first question, PSI stands for Prospect Success Indicator.

In short, PSI is a weighted equation of various advanced metrics that are then distilled down to one number, Prospect Success Indicator score.

This score allows us to judge incoming rookie wide receivers based purely on age adjusted production, athleticism and then compare them to all the other wide receivers in the database. The database is made up of 99% of WR’s who attended their respective Combine, and then I add in the few small school guys each year.

  • This is DOES NOT account for Draft Capital or Landing Spot which is determined on/after draft night (UDFA)

How is Prospect Success Indicator Score calculated?

Below are all advanced metrics used to calculate PSI , if you want to learn more about certain metrics I have linked some back to their original source material. Enjoy!

  1. Breakout Age(BA) – is defined by their age at midpoint of the college football season when they first posted a Dominator Rating at or above 20% – This was pioneered by Frank DuPont and Shawn Siegele first examined each wide receiver’s breakout age on RotoViz.com. A Breakout Age under 20 is exceptional.
  2. Successful Wide Receiver Measurements (SWRM)Jacob Feldman of DLF wrote an article in 2012 detailing out what the average Combine/Pro Day metrics were for the average Top 25 WR at the time. For a couple of reasons, age of article/data and this Harvard Article on the Combine and WR’s, I weighted this the least amount across all metrics.
    1. Lbs per In, Hand Size, Height, 40yd dash, Vertical Leap, Broad Jump, 20yd Shuttle, 3 Cone
    2. Top 25 WR’s hit on a least 7 of these metric on average
  3. Phenom Index 2.0 (PI) – Originally created by Jon Moore of Rotoviz, the orginal Phenom Index was calculated by looking at player’s age and market share of receiving yards in their final season and bolting them together using z-scores. However I have changed that formula and now I account for the prospects BEST season for both market share of yards and TD’s plus their age at the end of their final season. This allows to us to account for any suspensions, poor QB play, or any other outside factor that may have contributed to a drop off in their final year of production that weren’t considering before, now we just compare each prospects best year to one another, thus leveling the playing field.
  4. Dominator Rating (DR) –  first outlined by Frank DuPont in the book Game Plan, the college dominator rating represents a player’s “market share” or his percentage of his team’s offensive production. For example, a 35+% dominator indicates that a wide receiver has the potential to be a team’s No. 1 WR and/or a high caliber contributor. 20-35% indicates a mid-level talent with situational upside. Less than 20% is a red flag. Data is sourced from Player Profiler,
  5. Bench Press (BP) – According to the HSCA the bench press was the only statistically relevant drill – and even then it’s not very high – that could predict future success.  WR’s have to be able to get off press coverage, push-off DB’s (without getting flagged) and block, right? The baseline here is 10 or more reps for WR’s.
  6. Height Weight Adjusted Speed Score (HASS) – Created by Shawn Siegele, HASS is scaled with 100 being a solid draftable score, anything over 110 being excellent, and anything over 120 suggesting complete physical dominance for WR’s 6’1” or taller. However this is not as impactful for shorter WR’s  – Not part of the actual equation but a listed in the database as an extra point of context.
  7. Prospect Success Indicator Score: This is the cumulative score based on how each WR ranked across all the metrics listed above. Here’s how the metrics are weighted to get to my final rankings: DR and PI at 40% each, BP at 15% and SWRM at 5%. BA is accounted for well enough within PI, and HaaS is only good to look at for those WR’s at/over 6’1” from my understanding. My calculations will continue to be refined as time goes on= as I grow my sample size and result with each year.
  8. Prospect Success Indicator Ceiling Score – This is the max score a prospect could have achieved if his entire athletic profile were complete. For example, very year some prospects refuse to participate in agility drills, like the 3 cone drill, or never get their hands measured, for each missing data point I account for it in the Ceiling Score. Assuming the prospect did participate and did hit the necessary threshold to achieve receive credit for that this is is max score he could’ve achieved.

How do I use it for both Pre and Post NFL/Fantasy Rookie Draft?

  1. Pre-NFL Draft I would view the rankings as – “Draft capital aside, only accounting for Skill and Athleticism, who are the most talented Wide Receiver’s in this rookie class?
  2. Post-NFL Draft I would adjust the rankings a bit based on what each Wide Receivers draft captial was.
    1. Ex: Krishawn Hogan went undrafted last year, even though he has the talent to succeed, his lack of draft capital will limit the number of chances he gets to succeed in the NFL and that means Hogan should be a late round rookie flyer rater than a 2nd or 3rd pick if he was drafted.
  3. Finally, I would revisit the rankings to see who you should buy on discounts and who you should be selling high.
    1. Buy Ex: Adam Thielen –  Tier 8 – after his 1st breakout season he was still very cheap in trades and if you went back and saw his PSI score you would’ve tried to buy him everywhere you could before his 2017 season.
    2.  Sell Ex: Kelvin Benjamin – Tier 37 – after his breakout rookie season – which was buoyed by his 1st rd draft capitial – you would’ve seen his PSI score is extremely low and I would;v encouraged you to sell him. Benjamin hasn’t been a Top 24 WR since and has recently seen his value drop dramatically as a result of weight/knee issues and lack of production since his trade to Buffalo.

How does Prospect Success Indicator Score Stack Up Against Expert Rankings?

Recently I compared PSI by WR Class from 2012 to 2017 to expert rankings that I could find on Google at the time. I used a variety of sites (DLF, Rotoworld, NFL, ESPN, FootballGuys) to get a good sample of expert rankings we all use to see how the Top 12 WR’s stacked up by year.

In total from 2012-2017 the Expert Rankings hit on 24 – WR 1/2 Seasons + 16 WR 3 seasons based on their rankings. During that same time period PSI hit on 37 WR 1/2 Seasons + 18 WR 3 seasons. That’s averages out to +17% hit rate in total. +19% for WR 1/2 and +13% for WR 3.

However, knowing WR’s often take until year 3 to breakout I removed the 2016-2017 classes from the equation and PSI average hit rate jumps to a total of +24% (63 to 51) to Expert Rankings, almost an even split between WR 1/2 seasons +23%, and WR 3 seasons +25%.

Biggest Misses Using PSI? 

  • Stephen Hill – Tier 2 – should’ve been a stud but having followed his career as fan he lacked the work ethic and love for the game that was required to succeed in the NFL.
  • TY Hilton – Tier 31 – Hilton is far an away the biggest outlier for me, everything says he shouldn’t be seeing any amount off success in the NFL, yet after 3 Top 24 seasons here we are. To be fair though even experts at the time didn’t have TY ranked high, he was missed by both the Film and Metrics community.
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