Rodgers is second only to Andy Dalton of the Bengals in Points Above Replacement.2Points scored above what would be expected with a replacement-level quarterback. Ranking and chart limited to QBs on pace to qualify for ESPN’s QBR leaderboard with highest PAR on their team. Yet the Packers have spent the fifth-smallest amount on offensive non-quarterbacks for the 2015 season. Part of this is because the Packers are fiscally responsible and aren’t spending much in general on payroll. But they also specifically rank near the bottom consistently in spending on the guys who play with their quarterback. Here’s how the Packers’ offensive spending over the past three seasons (including this one) stacks up to the rest of the league: Check out win and loss projections and playoff odds for all 32 NFL teams. The NFL salary cap alone explains some of this chart. Teams spending more on QBs often end up spending less on other offensive players, simply because they have to spend less money somewhere. But it’s striking to me just how much a lot of teams with big-name, big-money QBs lean on them. For example, the Packers, Steelers and Giants all spent less money than average on offense despite having three of the top QB salaries in the business. In general, many of the top QBs in the game probably deserve even more esteem than the considerable amount they receive already. For instance, Eli Manning should get a bit more of a break sometimes, as he receives literally the least financial support for his offensive teammates in the league.Rodgers, despite his team spending barely more money on offensive teammates than the Giants have for Eli Manning, has put up much better numbers. He has 73 TDs and 15 interceptions (counting the playoffs) since 2013, compared with 58 and 43, respectively, for Manning. What could Rodgers have done with another $60 million worth of offensive linemen?Twitter question of the weekAs usual, tweet me questions @skepticalsports and there’s a chance I’ll answer them, even if they seem a bit silly. Like this one: OK, silly, but interesting. The precise mechanism of NFL home-field advantage is still an open question. The conventional wisdom is that it has something to do with atmosphere, for example how crowd noise affects signal-calling. I can see how these kinds of effects might reach a nadir immediately after the half. But using ESPN’s play-by-play data, I tried filtering for drives by away teams that start immediately after the half, and found that they averaged a similar number of points as other drives.3Ditto for expected points for the handful of plays immediately after the half: I filtered for offensive plays by the visiting team in the first 100 seconds of the second half and found their average expected points added to be virtually identical to that for the visiting team on other plays. But for the margins we’re dealing with, that sample size is way too small to be meaningful.4I looked at about 2,200 third-quarter drives between the 2006 and 2015 seasons. So I fished around a bit and found that, broadly speaking, the third quarter is better for road teams than average.5That is, teams in the third quarter improved their chances of winning (as modeled by win probability added) by just about 1 percent per drive (over around 9,800 drives) in the third quarter (while matching modeled WPA in other quarters).Now, contra the conventional wisdom, many — though not all — statistically minded NFL analysts think home advantage is more likely to relate to officiating. So with that in mind, I looked a bit more carefully at penalties in particular. Penalties tend to favor the team on offense, but they favor the offense even more often when it’s the home team. The margins here also don’t look huge, but it’s pretty clear over more than 400,000 offensive plays: For every 100 plays a home offense runs, it normally nets about three (expected) points from all penalties called. The equivalent rate for away offenses is just more than two expected points per 100 plays. That difference adds up to about a point per game: not a large fraction of your typical scoreline, but a pretty big chunk of the total home-field advantage that we tend to see (generally around two to three points per game).But here’s the interesting bit: The home team’s advantage from penalties isn’t divided equally by quarter. Nor is it strongest in the fourth quarter, when calls are most crucial, as in basketball. The home team’s largest advantages are in the first and second quarters, with the smallest coming in the third quarter:Curious!I really don’t have any explanation for this, and at this point I would categorize my speculation as “wild.” For instance: Perhaps the second half is when refs start trying very hard not to give in to their unconscious bias toward the home team.Most empirically significant game of this weekThere are many great and potentially revealing matchups set for this weekend, including the Panthers at the Seahawks. A lot of rookie quarterback theory hinges on the fate of Cam Newton — whose rookie campaign bore the hallmark (namely lots and lots of production) of a potential all-time great, but who has had only one winning season in his first four years.But Carolina-Seattle gets only an honorable mention, because the matchup of the week is clearly the Patriots at the Colts. Since the AFC championship game thrashing by the Pats (known for a certain controversy), these two teams — and their two star quarterbacks — have been on very different trajectories. The Patriots obviously did this little thing called winning the Super Bowl, and have started this season on a tear reminiscent of their 16-0 campaign in 2007. Andrew Luck, meanwhile, has been outplayed by 40-year-old backup Matt Hasselbeck — the oldest non-kicker in football this year.After having one of the league’s strongest offenses last year, the Patriots have managed one of the league’s biggest offensive improvements this year (the biggest improvers have been the Cardinals, who with Carson Palmer back at quarterback have had the league’s second-best offense):Rodgers essentially has maintained his MVP form, while Peyton Manning seems finally to be in real decline. But the Colts and Luck, their 26-year-old quarterback, have underperformed by nearly as much as the Broncos have with 39-year-old Peyton Manning at QB.Luck, who is practically the patron saint of Skeptical Football, is expected to return. Given the result the last time these two teams met, the Patriots are expected to romp. Whether that happens or not, we should learn more about the strengths and weaknesses of some of the most important figures and phenomena in the sport today.Reminder: If you tweet questions to me @skepticalsports, there is a non-zero chance that I’ll answer them here.Charts by Ella Koeze and Reuben Fischer-Baum. Stop the presses! Last Sunday, the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers threw two interceptions, his first in Green Bay since December 2012. Granted, they were completely inconsequential, and at least the first was pretty much a freak accident — his pass deflected off a linebacker — but Rodgers accepted at least some of the blame for them all the same. Despite the embarrassment, his touchdown-to-interception ratio remains the stuff of legend. Now in his eighth year as a starter, he has 66 interceptions for his career, along with 262 touchdowns (counting the playoffs). Normally, I’m not impressed by such stats. As I wrote last year (and have defended on numerous occasions), I think that his incredibly low interception rate is in part the result of a potentially costly unwillingness to gamble — particularly in situations where his team is down multiple scores late. I haven’t changed my mind.But I don’t think this quirk of Rodgers substantially diminishes his value. Or put another way, he is so valuable to begin with that even if he’s slightly too risk-averse, it’s largely irrelevant. Of course, Rogers is still relatively young (he’ll turn 32 in December), and he hasn’t had to deal with the ups and downs of a full career yet, either. But he’s a huge outlier, even for a quarterback at this stage of his career. For example, here is how he has accumulated touchdowns relative to interceptions game by game for his career, compared to every QB in NFL regular-season history since 1960:For most quarterbacks, losing causes interceptions just as much as interceptions cause losing. Rodgers is no different; he’d be even more valuable if he made certain win-maximizing adjustments (even though they might hurt his statistics a bit). But the steepness of Rodgers’s rise has no parallel. Criticizing him for it is a bit like criticizing Bill Belichick for not going for it enough on fourth down, or criticizing Lionel Messi for playing tiki-taka football so much instead of trading as many possessions as possible with his opponents. That is, they’re still pretty much the best at what they do, but could possibly be doing a little bit better.There’s one more reason to give Rodgers the benefit of any (skeptical) doubt. Which brings us to our …Chart(s) of the WeekNaturally, a quarterback’s ability to win games is affected by his team’s running game, defense, special teams, coaching and everything else. Even his broader statistical portfolio is largely a team accomplishment, and untangling everyone’s contributions can be nearly impossible. But one indicator of the strength of a quarterback’s teammates is money paid on their salaries. Some teams spend lavishly to surround their quarterbacks with high-powered offensive teammates.1Whether NFL teams are any good at this is a different question. The Packers, not so much:
UPDATE (Feb. 25, 4:58 p.m.): Since publication of this post, the Last Man organizers have acknowledged that their database did not include one contestant who was still viable in the competition. She has since been eliminated, but the numbers in this post would be slightly different if the database had been correct at the time of publication. Eighty-five percent of participants have already been felled by what competitors call “The Knowledge,”2Not to be confused with “The Knowledge.” according to the Last Man website. Sixteen percent of all players had, despite their best efforts, learned who won the Super Bowl by midnight on the night of the game (Feb. 7).3I wasn’t a declared player, but I made it only to 9:17 a.m. the day after the game, by which point 27 percent of players had learned the result, too. By the end of the next day, more than half of the competitors had lost their blissful ignorance. The more time that passes, the safer the players are; only about a quarter of competitors who made it through the first post-Super Bowl week perished in the second. Now, as you can see in the chart above, the survivor curve is more like a plateau.But that’s no reason for the survivors to let down their guard. They could still be taken out by the kind of thing that has felled other competitors — phone calls, cupcakes, baby photos, the usual. And it’s not always just the Last Manners who suffer when they lose: One competitor learned the Super Bowl winner via “email from treacherous husband I thought I could trust.” And that husband may find that the guilt of being the spoiler weighs on him for longer than The Knowledge haunts his spouse. It’s been more than two weeks since the Super Bowl, and there are still at least 29 people1As of Sunday, when the data was last updated. who don’t know who won. Those 29 are the recorded survivors of the Last Man challenge, a war-of-attrition, just-for-glory competition to be the last person in the U.S. (or at least in the challenge’s database) unaware of who won Super Bowl 50. (For all of you who still don’t know who won, this post is a safe space.)
How will your favorite NBA team do this year? See all of our predictions for the 2016-17 season » There is little reason for the casual NBA fan to pay attention to the Denver Nuggets this season. They are a bad-to-mediocre team with a ceiling of mediocre-yet-interesting. Where they fall along that spectrum will probably depend on what becomes of Emmanuel Mudiay.Mudiay, who skipped college ball in favor of getting paid as a pro in China, looked like a steal as the No. 7 overall pick in the 2015 draft. He walked into the starting point-guard position in his rookie season and went on to play 30 minutes of horror-show basketball every night. And, yet, because of the quirks of his position, his obvious talent and some promising stats papered over by the all-around badness, Mudiay remains a tantalizing prospect despite having one of the worst rookie seasons in recent memory.The baseline stats belie just how bad he was: Mudiay averaged 12.8 points and 5.5 assists per game while shooting 36 percent from the floor and 32 percent from behind the arc. Dig a little deeper and it starts to look worse: His turnover rate was just a hair under 18 percent, and he finished the year with his win shares per 48 at a tidy -0.049. That’s not good! It is in fact very bad!How does a supposed phenom have a season that bad? By having no idea how to put the ball in the basket. Among qualified players, Mudiay ranked dead last in both effective field goal percentage and true shooting percentage. He somehow managed to put up worse shooting numbers than Kobe Bryant, who spent the season heaving up as many shots as possible despite his body being held together by bungee cords. Bryant at least had the excuse of being a shameless gunner and 700 years old. Mudiay managed to be a black hole despite taking 200 fewer shots than Old Man Bryant. This isn’t to say that Nuggets fans should be feeling great about Mudiay’s future as he heads into his second season running the offense. The inclusion of Westbrook, Mike Conley and John Wall in the comparable players section of his CARMELO comps will surely induce a few fist pumps, but the sight of Sebastian Telfair and Brandon Jennings should leave them in a cold sweat.Whether Mudiay is able to overcome his growing pains and carry his second-half improvements into this season won’t mean much for the Nuggets’ immediate future — they’re likely a long shot for the playoffs even if Mudiay is great — but it means everything for their long-term plans. Aside from Mudiay and Nikola Jokic, this is a roster almost entirely made up of solid but uninspiring players. Kenneth Faried, Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari and Will Barton are fine basketball players, but they aren’t a group that’s equipped to turn the Nuggets into a consistent playoff contender.In the coming years, the Nuggets will have to choose which of their good-but-not-great players are worth keeping around and which are better jettisoned. But none of those decisions will matter if the team can’t find a true star or two to anchor the roster. Jokic looks like he’s ready to play the part, but so much still depends on what becomes of Mudiay. At this point, one timeline sees him developing into an oversized point guard with a passable jumper who can use his speed, strength and vision to control the game. The darker timelines see him slogging through a disappointing NBA career, launching jumpers from a trebuchet and never quite catching onto the rhythm of the game. Mudiay will be much closer to one of those destinies at the conclusion of this season, which means it’s probably going to be a very good or very bad year for the Nuggets.Check out our NBA predictions. An optimist would point out that Mudiay’s shooting improved in the second half of the season; he shot 39 percent from the floor and 36 percent from 3-point range after the All-Star break. A pessimist would dunk on that optimist’s head by reminding everyone that shooting was far from Mudiay’s only problem — he created just 0.64 points per possession for his team as a pick-and-roll ball-handler last season, a rate that was nearly doubled up by Steph Curry (1.11) and lagged behind less lofty competition like Jimmy Butler (0.89) and Jamal Crawford (0.82).Rookies often take a while to find their stroke — Kris Dunn shot 24.2 percent over his last five preseason games — but what makes Mudiay’s shooting stats so ugly is that they weren’t just the result of a broken jumper. He struggled just as much around the basket. He made only 44 percent of the shots he took less than five feet from the rim, a full 15 points below the league average. According to NBA.com, Mudiay made 7.6 drives to the basket per game and converted just 38 percent of the shots he took at the end of those drives. This would maybe be understandable if Mudiay were the size of, say, Earl Boykins and built like a dachshund, but he’s a 6-foot-5 point guard who weighs 200 pounds. Driving to the hoop and finishing strong is supposed to be, like, his whole thing.If Mudiay were a center or power forward coming off a rookie season this rotten, I imagine that he would have already been written off as an Anthony Bennett-style bust, but point guards are evaluated a little differently. The inherent difficulties of the position are going to produce some ugly statistics in the first season, and the problems that rookie point guards have — unfamiliarity with the speed of the NBA, poor shooting, high turnover rate — are usually the kinds of problems that can be solved. Remember when Russell Westbrook’s effective field goal percentage was .414 in his first season? That’s why FiveThirtyEight’s CARMELO projection model ranks guys like Marcus Smart and Elfrid Payton so highly.This goes a long way toward explaining why CARMELO is relatively bullish on Mudiay as well, projecting him to dig his way out of the basement and be a solid contributor within a few seasons: And don’t forget that for all Mudiay’s failings, he’s had his moments. It was highlights like this that made him a lottery pick to begin with:
Ohio State redshirt junior guard Kam Williams (15) and sophomore guard C.J. Jackson walk down the floor late in the second half against Nebraska on Feb. 18 at the Schottenstein Center. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Photo EditorThe NBA released a list of early entry candidates for the 2017 NBA draft on Tuesday, and among those names was Ohio State redshirt junior shooting guard Kam Williams.The fourth-year guard set career-highs across the board, averaging 30.7 minutes, 9.4 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.0 assists per game in his first season as the regular point guard while starting in 29 of his team’s 32 games. He shot .391 from the field, including a .376 success percentage from beyond the arc. Williams also led the team shooting 91.9 percent (34-for-37) from the free-throw line.Williams is the second Buckeye player on this list, joining junior center Trevor Thompson who reportedly declared for the draft on March 14.
Kolkata: A Bangladeshi national has been arrested at the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International (NSCBI) Airport, Kolkata, with a huge amount of foreign currency on Saturday morning. Suspicion grew within the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel during the baggage checking as the currency was visible at the time of scanning.According to CISF authority, at around 11 am, when baggage checking for a Dhaka-bound flight was in progress, an on-duty CISF officer noticed a suspicious image on the scanner screen. To investigate the matter, the CISF personnel decided to check the baggage physically. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataThe passenger, identified as Alam Shah, was also detained for inquiry. After opening the baggage, no suspicious items could be located. But the CISF personnel was not convinced as the bag seemed unusually heavy in respect of the items that were packed inside. The items inside the baggage were then taken out and was passed through the scanner again. It was found that a false compartment had been created at the bottom of the bag. Immediately, the portion was cut open and the huge amount of US dollars were found. During counting, it was revealed that Shah was carrying US $70,000 approximately worth Rs 47.42 lakh. Shah was later handed over to the Customs officials for further action.
Categories: Tedder News 28Sep Rep. Tedder recognizes Michigan State Fair scholarship winner State Rep. Jim Tedder today welcomed a recipient of the Michigan State Fair Urban and Rural Scholarship to the House of Representatives. Clarkston resident Kimberly Suran was among the 60 scholarship winners that were recognized on the House floor.“I’m honored to welcome such a talented group of students to the House today for this very special occasion,” Rep. Tedder said. “Meeting and talking with Kimberly has been a great experience. She definitely has a bright future ahead of her.”The Michigan State Fair Urban and Rural Scholarship recognizes young people across the state who make a difference in the cities, towns and villages by planting and harvesting garden space in their local neighborhoods. Scholarship recipients received a total of $40,000 divided between four areas of competition: Animal/Livestock, Home Arts, Agriculture, and Urban/Rural Farming.
France made cash transactions over €1,000 illegal, down from the previous limit of €3,000. The War on Cash is a favorite pet project of the economic central planners. They want to eliminate hand-to-hand currency so that governments can document, control, and tax everything. This is why they’re lowering the threshold for mandatory reporting of cash transactions and, in some instances, simply making it illegal to pay cash. In the U.S., central planners ratchet up the War on Cash every time the government declares a made-up war on something else…a war on crime, a war on drugs, a war on poverty, a war on terror… They all end with more government intrusion into your financial affairs. Thanks to these made-up wars, the U.S. government is imposing an increasing number of regulations on cash transactions. Try withdrawing more than $10,000 in cash from your bank. They’ll treat you like a criminal or terrorist. The Federal Reserve is at the center of the War on Cash. Its weapons are inflation and control over the currency denominations. Take the $100 note, for example. It’s the largest bill in circulation today. This was not always the case. At one point, the U.S. had $500, $1,000, $5,000, and even $10,000 notes. But the government eliminated these large notes in 1969 under the pretext of fighting the War on Some Drugs. Since then, the $100 note has been the largest. But it has far less purchasing power than it did in 1969. Decades of rampant money printing have inflated the dollar. Today, a $100 note buys less than a $20 note did in 1969. Even though the Federal Reserve has devalued the dollar over 80% since 1969, it still refuses to issue notes larger than $100. This makes it inconvenient to use cash for large transactions, which forces people to use electronic payment methods. This, of course, is what the U.S. government wants. It’s exactly like Ron Paul said: “The cashless society is the IRS’s dream: total knowledge of, and control over, the finances of every single American.” Policymakers or Central Planners? On stories related to the War on Cash, you may have noticed that the mainstream media often uses the word “policymakers,” as in “policymakers have decided to keep interest rates at record low levels.” When the media uses “policymakers,” they are often referring to central bank officials. It’s a curious word choice. As far as I can tell, there is no difference between a policymaker and central planner. Most people who want to live in a free society agree that central planning is not a good idea. So the media uses a different word to put a more neutral spin on things. To help you think more clearly, I suggest substituting “central planners” every time you see “policymakers.” Switzerland proposed banning cash payments in excess of 100,000 francs; Russia banned cash transactions over $10,000; Recommended Links The World’s First Cashless Society In 1661, Sweden became the first country in Europe to issue paper money. Now it’s probably going to be the first in the world to eliminate it. Sweden has already phased out most cash transactions. According to Credit Suisse, 80% of all purchases in Sweden are electronic and don’t involve cash. And that figure is rising. If the trend continues – and there is nothing to suggest it won’t – Sweden could soon be the world’s first cashless society. Sweden’s supply of physical currency has dropped over 50% in the last six years. A couple of major Swedish banks no longer carry cash. Virtually all Swedes pay for candy bars and coffee electronically. Even homeless street vendors use mobile card readers. Plus, an increasing number of government restrictions are encouraging Swedes to dump cash. The pretexts are familiar…fighting terrorism, money laundering, etc. In effect, these restrictions make it inconvenient to use cash, so people don’t. So far, Swedes have passively accepted the government and banks’ drive to eliminate cash. The push to destroy their financial privacy doesn’t seem to bother them. This is likely because the average Swede places an unreasonable amount of trust in government and financial institutions. Their trust is certainly misplaced. On top of the obvious privacy concerns, eliminating cash enables the central planners’ latest gimmick to goose the economy: Negative interest rates. Making The Negative Interest Rate Scam Possible Sweden, Denmark, and Switzerland all have negative interest rates. Negative interest rates mean the lender literally pays the borrower for the privilege of lending him money. It’s a bizarre, upside down concept. But negative rates are not some European anomaly. The Federal Reserve discussed the possibility of using negative interest rates in the U.S. at its last meeting. Negative rates could not exist in a free market. They destroy the impetus to save and build capital, which is the basis of prosperity. When you deposit money in a bank, you are lending money to the bank. However, with negative rates you don’t earn interest. Instead, you pay the bank. If you don’t like that plan, you can certainly stash your cash under the mattress. As a practical matter, this limits how far governments and central banks can go with negative interest rates. The more it costs to store money at the bank, the less inclined people are to do it. Of course, central planners don’t want you to withdraw money from the bank. This is a big reason why they want to eliminate cash…so you can’t. As long as your money stays in the bank, it’s vulnerable to the sting of negative interest rates and also helps to prop up the unsound fractional reserve banking system. If you can’t withdraw your money as cash, you have two choices: You can deal with negative interest rates…or you can spend your money. Ultimately, that’s what our Keynesian central planners want. They are using negative interest rates and the War on Cash to force you to spend and “stimulate” the economy. If you ask me, these radical and insane measures are a sign of desperation. The War on Cash and negative interest rates are huge threats to your financial security. Central planners are playing with fire and inviting a currency catastrophe. Most people have no idea what really happens when a currency collapses, let alone how to prepare… How will you protect your savings in the event of a currency crisis? This just-released video will show you exactly how. Click here to watch it now. Regards, Nick Giambruno Don’t Put a Penny in Tech Stocks Until You Hear What This Insider Has to Say Most tech giants take YEARS to be valued at $1 billion. But in 2014, an early stage start-up shot from $0 to $1 billion in just EIGHT MONTHS. All thanks to a new technological force on track to revolutionize the tech industry… and send profits soaring exponentially… starting next year. In a live event on Wednesday, December 2, at 8 p.m. Eastern, Bill Bonner’s resident tech expert will explain everything you need to know. Investors who act now could see exponential profits. Don’t miss out… — Mexico made cash payments of more than 200,000 pesos illegal; Uruguay banned cash transactions over $5,000; and – Editor’s Note: Your wealth and privacy could be collateral damage in a war you probably haven’t heard of until now… In this special edition of the Casey Daily Dispatch, our colleague Nick Giambruno, editor of Crisis Speculator, explains how central planners around the globe are waging this hidden war and what you should do to protect yourself. ———— Central planners around the world are waging a War on Cash. In just the last few years: Italy made cash transactions over €1,000 illegal; Big warning signs U.S. is the next Greece 70-year-old multimillionaire reveals #1 step to survive America’s looming currency crisis. Spain banned cash transactions over €2,500;